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Mon April 12 2021

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Whitby’s Ordsall Chord challenge fails

15 Oct 15 An attempt by former Institution of Civil Engineers president Mark Whitby to block an £85m railway scheme in Manchester has failed.

The Ordsall Chord scheme
The Ordsall Chord scheme

Network Rail plans to build a 340-metre stretch of rail called the Ordsall Chord to link Manchester’s three main railway stations – Piccadilly, Victoria and Oxford Road – to improve rail capacity and create new routes.

It will link the Bolton and Chat Moss lines, with a new bridge over the River Irwell and a viaduct over Trinity Way.

Mark Whitby argued that the scheme would damage railway heritage and prevent old trains getting to the 185-year-old Grade I listed Liverpool Road Station, which is part of Manchester’s Museum of Science & Industry. His legal challenge has now been thrown out.

Network Rail was happy to see the judge dismiss the challenge. A Network Rail spokesman said: “We welcome this decision as the Ordsall Chord forms a key part of our railway upgrade plan for the north of England. More than £1bn is being invested to provide passengers with better services and we plan to start work on the Ordsall Chord as soon as possible.”

The judgment was handed down by Mrs Justice Lang in the Planning Court in London.  She dismissed all three claims made by Mark Whitby: two statutory challenges of the Transport & Works Act order, one of the Listed Building Consent and a judicial review of the planning permission.  Mrs Justice Lang also refused permission for Mr Whitby to appeal.

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