Rail station revamp hits the buffers

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 21 November 2008

THE much-vaunted £300,000 refurbishment to Greenfield railway station has run out of steam.

Shocked rail travellers and campaigners have been told the contractor Yorkshire-based, Lotus Construction, has gone into administration.

The development, which is being led by Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE), will provide a new ticket office and waiting areas on the Manchester bound platform of the station as well as safety and security features.

The station remains open to passengers and GMPTE will maintain the temporary facilities.

But transport expert Councillor Richard Knowles, said: “This problem has come like a bolt from the blue.

“The job was running behind schedule. Work should have been completed last month and it was hoped the station would officially reopen in a few days time.

“I estimate there is only a few days work left for the job to be completed and I am pressing the authorities on a daily basis to get it finished. It’s so frustrating,” he added.

David McNeeney, chairman of the 200-strong Greenfield and Grasscroft Residents’ Association, said: “We have all watched the construction work progress and it isfrustrating to hear that the concompany has gone into administration.

“However, I believe that GMPTE will want this problem resolved and the project finished as quickly as possible..”

Paul Griffiths, GMPTE’s interim projects director, said: “Unfortunately we had no prior notice that the contractor was being taken into administration.

“That means that there will be a short pause while we make the appropriate arrangements to complete the outstanding work — which amounts to testing the systems in the new ticket office and some external work including installing handrails.

“We are disappointed that this project has been affected by circumstances beyond our control, but I would like to reassure passengers that we are doing all we can to get the new and improved Greenfield station open as soon as possible.”

GMPTE makes a financial check of all suppliers before they are appointed and also insists that contractors provide a performance bond to meet any costs incurred if they default on their obligations.

Callers to Lotus Construction were diverted to an answerphone advising people to leave a message.