Improve rail to Manchester call

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Proposals to improve connectivity in the North must include better rail links to Manchester, according to Sheffield Chamber.

Peter Kennan, vice-chair of its transport forum, said the Peak District’s National Park status meant poor road links were unlikely to be upgraded – which meant rail was the only option.

He was reacting to plans for a £15bn One North transport and infrastructure plan involving cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield – which Chancellor George Osborne is backing.

Mr Kennan, partner at chartered accountants Hawsons, added: “Leeds and Manchester already have the M62, whereas Sheffield and Manchester have the A57, a slow single carriageway road which provides poor journey times.

“This lack of robust road infrastructure which is easily disrupted due to accidents and weather conditions, plus the added environmental sensitivities of the Peak District National Park, means proposals to improve connectivity must include improvements to rail services to Manchester.”