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‘Cheap’ £9m new look for station

Reporter: ALAN SALTER
Date online: 14 April 2009

Oldham’s gateway to Manchester is to get a £9m makeover after plans for a major £300m commercial redevelopment had to be shelved because of the recession.

It was less than two years ago that the 160-year-old Victoria Station, which serves the north of the city and takes trains from Mumps, Werneth and Mills Hill, was promised restoration to make it world class by next year.

But now plans to replace its leaking roof with a massive new one, in the shape of a boomerang to cover the station concourse, Metrolink platforms, and new shops, bars and restaurants, are on ice — along with offices and apartment blocks behind and a new extension to Chetham’s School of Music at the front.

Network Rail’s new route director for the west coast main line between London and the Scottish border, said: “It is our intention to provide the station with a new roof over the next five years.

“Although funding for this has not yet been agreed, we are in talks with both GMPTE and Manchester City Council about a scheme that could potentially be worth in excess of £7m.”

As well as the roof, there will be £2m improvements to passenger waiting areas, toilets, the footbridge, and security measures.

A report by the Travelwatch passenger watchdog said that Victoria Station “does not provide a welcoming environment” for its five million passengers and the gents’ toilets are a “disgrace”.

In October, 2007, transport minister Rosie Winterton announced a feasibility study into improvements to the congested “Manchester hub” which is holding up trains across the North of England.

Ms Kaye said that the first part of the study into the business case has now been finished and Network Rail will complete a technical study.

But without money from elsewhere, no work can start until 2015 because Network Rail’s funds are tied up until then.

 

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