PLANS for a new and improved train station at Burnley’s Manchester Road have moved a step closer.
A planning application was submitted to transform the gateway station ahead of the £8.8m. Todmorden Curve improvements which will halve travel times to Manchester.
The plans for Manchester Road Station, which is Burnley’s busiest, include a full refurbishment of former railway buildings, manned ticket facilities and more than 50 car parking spaces.
Burnley Council expects a sharp increase in the number of rail passengers and hopes to complete the redevelopment before the rail link opens.
Enabling work has already begun at the site with the demolition of former dairy buildings and vegetation clearance.
The council, which is in partnership with Lancashire County Council, Northern Rail and Network Rail, will find out in the coming weeks if a European funding bid has been successful.
Coun. Roger Frost, executive member for regeneration and economic development, said it was a key priority to regenerate the station.
He said: “Rail travel grew by 4.8% in 2011, with more and more people choosing to travel by train, despite difficult economic times.
“To accommodate this growth it is important Burnley creates welcoming stations able to accommodate an increase in passenger numbers.
“ For some passengers it can be the first impression they get of a town, and with the transformations underway in Burnley, with new schools, college and universities, it is important that visitors arriving, or passing through see the ‘new’ modern, changing Burnley.
“Work is due to commence on the new University Technical College later this year, which will have a major impact on the Manchester Road station with a number of students coming into Burnley from across the region by rail.”
Coun. Coun. Tim Ashton, Lancashire County Council Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We’re at the start of what will be a new and more prosperous time for Burnley as a result of being able to travel to Manchester in under an hour thanks to the restored Todmorden Curve.
“The redeveloped Manchester Road railway station is an important part of this and it’s exciting that the process is now underway.
“Lancashire is already due to benefit from considerable inward investment in its transport infrastructure over the coming years and it will be an added bonus if we can also win European funding towards Manchester Road station.”