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Paul Rowen praises local paper!

August 1, 2006 9:43 PM

Here is the full transcript of the letter that Paul Rowen MP wrote to the Rochdale Observer about the Metrolink!

I am writing regarding to congratulate the Rochdale Observer for their relentless campaign to deliver the Metrolink to Rochdale. It has been a long one and for 2 years the Rochdale Observer has continued to give it's support, printing numerous stories backing this all-party campaign. I hope that the Rochdale Observer continue to back us so that we can deliver the Metrolink right into the heart of our Town Centre.

Two years ago, when former Transport Secretary - Alastair Darling MP dropped his bombshell that the £520M was off the table - the people of Rochdale showed typical grit and refused to back down. After all this project had been promised for many years and the people of Rochdale knew that this was not acceptable. I do believe that we have won the battle and not the war and I would hope that the second part of the Government's promise it kept. We will not be able to maximise the regeneration opportunities until it comes all the way into the Town Centre. I have written to the new Transport Secretary - Douglas Alexander MP asking for a meeting and hope to progress this and get swift answers.

I will have many memories of this campaign, I remember Christmas 2004 - we were in the first few months of the campaign. The Black Box with the slogan - 'What Rochdale wants for Christmas' overlooked the Town Centre. I remember the delegation that pressed the Government in the House of Commons - represented by all 3 major parties. I used the opportunity in my Maiden Speech in the House of Commons to press home the point, I was armed with a leaflet that was produced in 1989 by the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority. That clearly stated: "Metrolink will start running" in Rochdale "in 1992. It's been a long hard fight and we shouldn't just be content with the line to Rochdale Railway Station.

Finally, I would like to praise the continuing work of Dave Appleton who has played a major part in the Rochdale Observer's Campaign. Dave kept the story ticking along and always pressed for updates. I will use my role as a Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Light Rail Group to ensure that the Government keep their full promise.