Following a judicial review brought by bus operators Stagecoach and and Rotala, a judge has ruled in favour of Manchester’s buses being brought back under public control.
The plan, first put forward by Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham last year, was briefly thrown into jeopardy after operators tried to stop it – but now it’s been successfully defended, meaning that cheaper buses are likely coming to the city in the near future.
Today, the courts found that the decision to implement a bus franchising scheme across Greater Manchester to bring buses back under public control was lawfully carried out, which means the plans can now move forward.
Sharing his joy at the decision, Andy Burnham tweeted that he was ‘pleased to say we have successfully defended the decision I took to put GM buses under public control’ and that he had won on ‘all points’ – adding “we can finally put people before profits after 36 years of the opposite”.
Joining in his enthusiasm, Manchester night tsar Sacha Lord added that the deicision was ‘huge news’ not just for Greater Manchester but for the rest of the UK, too.
In an official statement released following the court judgement, Andy Burnahm said: “Following the strong mandate from the Greater Manchester public, who wanted buses bringing back under public control, it is frustrating that the two companies concerned pursued this action and I am pleased that the court has dismissed all of their arguments.
“I now ask them to accept the clear ruling and allow us to crack on and give the people of Greater Manchester what they want – an integrated, accessible and affordable ‘London-style’ transport system joining together buses, trams, cycling and walking; the Bee Network.
“I want to work with the operators and the government to create the bus network that GM needs over the next few years and I will give a more detailed update on how and when we will implement franchising on Monday.
“However, in order to deliver a London-style transport system, we need the right funding to do so for our buses and for our Metrolink system so that people have access to the kind of reliable, affordable services that makes public transport an attractive alternative to the car.
“Access to reliable affordable public transport is central to the government’s commitment to levelling up and to our net zero ambitions. We want Government to join us in a partnership that uses Greater Manchester as a pilot to allow it to become the first London-style public transport system outside of London, as the Government promised in its Levelling Up White Paper, providing a package of both post-Covid and longer-term funding.
“We know that this result is important not just for Greater Manchester, but for other city-regions too; such as Liverpool City Region and South Yorkshire who have both announced that they are taking steps to introduce a franchised bus network. We hope that this judgement today will pave the way for them to progress with their ambitions to bring buses under public control. This ruling is a green light for the North to retake control of its bus and public transport system.”
Feature image – Commons Wikimedia
You can go on a winter story trail around this picturesque village near Manchester this Christmas
A picturesque village on the outskirts of Manchester is bringing its high street to life in a magical way this Christmas with a festive window trail.
The seasonal trail is shining a light on “the art of storytelling”.
With the festive season officially here, Glossop – which is a bustling market town nestled in the rugged hills on the edge of the Peak District – has launched its very-own Winter Story Trail dedicated to the late Dame Hilary Mantel, who lived in the area as a young woman.
Dame Hilary was a celebrated and award-winning novelist most famous for the Wolf Hall trilogy, but she sadly passed away aged 70 back in September.
The work of community creative group Glossop Creates, and showcasing the talents of local writers, authors, performers, and poets, and utilising the high street windows of shops and venues in the town centre, the Winter Story Trail takes you on a literary journey around Glossop.
24 local writers have been paired-up with a local shop, and have each created a 150-word winter tale based on that business.
Dark Peak Books, George Street Community Bookshop, Decor8, The Bureau, and Pepino are some of the businesses taking part in the trail, while a few of the writers who have penned stories include Mark Henderson, Michelle Collier, and Keli Tomlin.
Local actors Julie Hesmondhalgh – famous for having played Hayley in Coronation Street for many years – and Isobel Middleton from Harry Potter are also taking part in the campaign.
Families can collect a map for the Winter Story Trail from local venues around the town, and then head out and find all the windows while filling in a word from each to spell out a specially-commissioned 24 word poem.
“Glossop boasts huge talent in the literary space, with writers, storytellers, authors, script writers and poets all living in our town,” explained Claire Tymon from Local – the placemaking arts organisation that runs Glossop Creates.
“This year, we all mourned the loss of Dame Hilary Mantel, so it seems fitting to dedicate this year’s festive creative activity to her literary genius.
“It’s wonderful to see the high street brought to life at Christmas through storytelling and imagination, and the trail will also help to further showcase Glossop as an amazing and innovative destination for cultural activities, art and creativity at the gateway to the Peaks.”
And all you have to do is nominate someone you think deserves it.
As the heritage railway is keen to celebrate those who have made a difference within the local Greater Manchester community, or those who have impacted peoples’ lives for the better, five ‘local heroes’ are going to get the chance to take a ride on one of the famous Santa Specials steam trains for free of charge this December.
The much-loved festive event has not only become an essential part of Christmas for many in the north west, but this year, it’s bigger and better than ever before.
The five local heroes will get to bring their families along with them for a truly special Christmas day out as they make their way through a winter wonderland at Bury Bolton Street Station.
They’ll first get to meet some old favourites and new characters, including the magical talking Christmas tree, Mrs Claus, and ELR’s very own Ice Princess, all before before having a singalong with a chorus of musical polar bears.
The festive fun will then continue on the Santa Special steam trains on an 80-minute “enchanting voyage” through the magical Irwell Valley.
Santa himself will be on board handing out gifts, while a festive brass band plays traditional Christmas tunes for a singalong, and adults tuck into a mince pie and a festive tipple or two.
Kids can feast on chocolate, juice, and get stuck into a brand-new ELR festive activity pack.
“It’s more important than ever to celebrate our local heroes who give back to the community and make a positive impact on people’s lives and we are thrilled to be able to give back to these people,” explained Mike Kelly – Chairman at ELR.
“The Santa Specials have become a staple in many families’ Christmas celebrations.
“If there’s someone in your life or your local community that has made a positive impact over the past year, whether it’s through the work that they do, the time they volunteer or any acts of kindness you think a light should be shone on then head over to our website and tell us why you think they deserve a magical day out with their families at the railway this Christmas.”