BEING a lifelong resident of my beloved Grappenhall and now a retired ex-civil servant of the nuclear industry we once had, I read the Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) published a week ago with great interest.

I note with even greater interest how the proposed Northern Power House Rail link to Manchester and on to Yorkshire is discussed.

They talk about preferred routes from Liverpool, favoring the old coal route from Manchester to Fiddlers ferry, now disused and then eastward to Warrington, reinstating the low level platforms at Bank Quay station that run east west under the existing north south, west coast mainline.

What is conspicuous by its absence is that the preferred route continues east from Bridge Foot through Latchford, over the high level bridge near Latchford locks and through Grappenhall where the disused railway line becomes the Trans Pennine Trail as it passes through Grappenhall, Thelwall and on through Lymm.

The part that really grates is omitted and runs right through the south of Warrington – east west. This is rather poignant as it was proposed in 2017 as part of 20-year town planning to make this another road crossing across the Manchester Ship Canal which was hastily dropped when the natives realised what was being proposed.

Now the IRP seemingly converts the disused railway (since 1986) back into a high speed railway line running through key Conservative constituencies south of Warrington. I can reconcile this – after all it once was a railway, but as the Trans Pennine Trail it now stands as an amenity of national importance, providing access to countryside, recreation, transit routes, and harboring wildlife.

The point is, as we continue to lose our green belt in south Warrington due to unjustified pressure to tarmac over our green fields and cover them with further new housing, given extensive development is already under way, why is the articulation of this increased likelihood hardly mentioned and not even discussed?

Given our Trans Pennine Trail is possibly favoured to become an electrified high speed railway route with the accompanying loss of amenity through Grappenhall, Thelwall and Lymm, what is going to replace it?

How can this be mitigated?