New station building and car park extension for Lea Green station
A new station building and additional car parking spaces will be built at Lea Green rail station in St Helens thanks to Combined Authority (CA) funding as part of wider plans to encourage people to use more sustainable modes of transport.
The CA has been working with St Helens Borough Council and Northern to develop proposals for the Eastern Region Interchange and Connectivity (ERIC) scheme and is investing £14.8m from its Transforming Cities Fund (TCF).
The ERIC scheme includes a number of upgrades at Lea Green station which, since 2018 has seen more services stop at the station, offering more opportunities to travel across the UK, and the surrounding area:
A new station building with better passenger facilities including a waiting room
Doubling the capacity for park and ride at the station to 450 spaces
Creating dedicated pedestrian and cycling routes connecting nearby residential, leisure and employment areas.
Making changes to the Bull & Dog junction to make it easier to use on foot and by cycle.
Proposals for the Bull and Dog junction include the City Region’s first CYCLOPS (Cycle Optimised Protected Signals) junction, which are designed to enable pedestrians, cyclists and motorists to use a junction at the same time in a safe way.
Feedback and comments from residents, local businesses, and anyone connected to Lea Green railway station, submitted as part of a public consultation that closed in February, will help shape final designs.
This news follows an announcement just last week from the Combined Authority confirming a £9.8m TCF investment into improving accessibility at five rail stations on the city region network.
All these schemes are part of a wider vision to make the region’s rail network the most accessible in the country.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “Devolution offers us the opportunity to do things differently. When I was elected, I made it a priority to improve our local transport network to make it easier, quicker and more affordable for local people.
“That’s why we’ve invested nearly £15m in and around Lea Green station to improve the facilities and make it a much better place for travellers and cyclists alike.
“I’m also developing wider plans for a London-style transport network, with tap-in contactless payments, fare caps and better buses and trains. We're using devolution to take greater control over local transport and run it in the interests of its users.”
Councillor Andy Bowden, St Helens Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport, said: “We’re always looking to make active travel like walking and cycling an easier option - particularly for shorter trips - and will encourage longer commutes by rail at the upgraded train station, so securing this funding is a positive step forward.
“Our intention is to make sure this scheme is fit for the future by planning in future development of nearby brownfield sites so that sustainable travel is built in from the start of developments to help create healthy habits from the beginning.”
Chris Jackson, Regional Director at Northern, said: “Our priority is always to make sure stations are safe, accessible and welcoming places for our customers.
“This is why we were delighted to work in partnership with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and St Helens Council on this project.
“We are transforming our network to give customers better journeys and the improvements at our car parks will ensure those journeys begin and end in a more pleasant environment.
“We’ve made great strides with enhancements, large and small, across our entire network. Our new ‘A Better Way to Go’ campaign demonstrates the hard work that has taken place as we continue to transform rail travel in the north.”
Simon O’Brien, Liverpool City Region Walking & Cycling Commissioner, added: “Cycling and walking is great for air quality and the environment, and brilliant for our physical and mental health and wellbeing. But we shouldn’t just think of walking or getting on our bikes as exercise – it’s also a great way to get around.
“In my role as Liverpool City Region Cycling and Walking Commissioner I have seen many proposals for encouraging people leave the car at home and I can safely say the new improvements to Lea Green station and surrounding network are the best I have seen.
"A gold standard development, raising the bar for all future such plans throughout the region. With the support of the Metro Mayor and Combined Authority, St Helens Borough Council is giving everyone in the area the opportunity to think differently about how to commute and get about in our everyday lives. Fantastic”