Pupils quiz Councillor on future of Heywood station

November 19, 2008 12:00 AM

Councillor Peter Rush - Putting Heywood FIRST!Pupils at St. Michael's Primary School in Bamford put a Heywood politician on the spot last week as part of their project on possible transport improvements in the area.

Heywood North Councillor Peter Rush, who represents East Lancashire Railway on behalf of the council, was invited to talk to the year 5 pupils about the long-term visions for Heywood's Station and how he hopes they will benefit the rest of Heywood.

St Michael's Year 5 School teacher, Mrs Moar said: "The children are currently working on a joint History and Geography project that focuses on possible transport improvements and how they would affect our town's environment on a wider scale. I asked Councillor Rush if he would attend one of our classes to give us a brief talk on Heywood's Train Station as he is a representative of the East Lancashire Railway Board and an expert on all things Heywood.

"The pupils wanted to discuss a number of issues with Councillor Rush such as car parking at the train station, cost convenience, the possibility of linking the train station to the National Rail Network at Castleton and much more."

The pupils followed up their talk with Councillor Rush with a visit to the train station and to Heywood's market to ask people what they thought about how the area and its transport network could be improved.

Heywood North Councillor Peter Rush said: "I was totally amazed by the quality of questions that were put to me by the pupils and I was glad that I did my homework before I came. I was impressed by the enthusiasm both of the pupils and their teacher Mrs Moar. It was a great experience and it was a pleasure to answer their questions.

"I believe it is very important to engage local children in community issues from a young age. This helps them to develop into much more active citizens within our communities especially by showing them that with a clear vision and hard work, they can take positive actions to benefit our area. I was very encouraged by the overall enthusiasm and knowledge of the pupils and it was a pleasure to speak to them. They are a credit to their school."

The school wished to highlight that Councillor Rush's visit and the project had nothing to do with the Transport Innovation Fund bid or the proposed transport improvements for Greater Manchester.

Head teacher Gillian Rhodes told Rochdale Online: "This is a history and geography project, comparing how a railway was set up in Victorian times to how one would be set up now. Councillor Rush was here as an enthusiast for the railway and not as a Councillor.

"It would be a shame if a children's school project was linked to the current developments. One of the children quite rightly asked how the Heywood railway might be funded and Councillor Rush said that a congestion charge might be one possibility but it was not discussed beyond that."