Manchester Metrolink users’ grave concerns over latest revamp plans

By Davie Heaton

Residents and Metrolink users are debating the proposed demolition of Woodlands Road station ahead of a consultation deadline tomorrow.

A new stop at Abraham Moss, 250 metres north along the line, has been put forward as a replacement.

The plans follow the decision last month to close Mosley Street station as Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive look to revamp the city’s metro system.

Many Metrolink users have concerns that the closure of Woodlands Road would create added dangers for those using the system.

“We need Woodlands Road station to stay open,” said Sally Rushworth, 46, from Durley Avenue.

“People are scared of the dangerous and dark alley way to Abraham Moss.

“Many elderly and disabled people are angry and frustrated because they moved to this area to be close to the tram station.

“Plus it means kids will have to risk an open level crossing to get to and from school, which just doesn’t bare thinking about.”

Opposition in the area is supported by Cheetham Hill councillors Naeem Hassan and Afzal Kahn.

Mr Hassan said: “They haven’t given any good reasons for closing Woodland Road station and it will be too dangerous for students who have to cross the line to and from school.

“Nobody has looked at this. Who will be responsible if someone gets hurt?”

If the proposals are accepted, the stop will be closed upon completion of the Abraham Moss station, expected in spring.

Woodlands Road is one of the least used stops on the network.

Councillor Keith Whitmore, Chair of Greater Manchester Integrated Travel Authority’s Policy and Resources Committee, claimed it suffers from poor local access and a number of safety and crime issues.

“We are confident a new stop at Abraham Moss offers the best solution for the majority of passengers,” said Mr Whitmore.

“The new Abraham Moss stop, which is currently under construction, will open Metrolink up to a larger group of users and provide access to key facilities within the Abraham Moss Centre, such as the high school, college, library, leisure centre and a local theatre.”

A GMITA report assessing the proposal says it will cost £300,000 to destroy the stop but will eventually save £100,000 in upgrades and £20,000 per year in maintenance costs.

Government ministers will make the final decision with the Office of Rail Regulation.

A further public consultation is currently underway regarding proposals to uproot the cenotaph on St Peter’s square to facilitate the overhaul.

Representations about the Woodlands Road closure proposal should be sent to the Department for Transport, RLMP division, Great Minster House, 76 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DR no later than 23 March 2011.

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