A Virtual Stroll Along the Mickle Trafford-Shotton Railway

Here is an aerial view from 1998 of the vast area scheduled to disappear under a new Park & Ride site designed to be linked with Chester city centre by the infamous CDTS Guided Busway.

Mannings Lane runs down the right hand side of the photograph and the junction of the M53, A55 Link Road and the A56 Warrington Road is at the bottom. The Greenfield Lane section of the A41 Ring Road runs across the rear of the Park & Ride site.

The course of the old Mickle Trafford railway- marked in red- cuts diagonally across the picture and the approximate location where these words are being written is indicated by the red cross at the top!

The material on this page pertaining to the planned Park & Ride site will be extensively expanded as soon as time allows- but we thought you'd be interested to know that a City council report in September 2000 showed that, as the Chester Chronicle put it at the time, "Drivers in and around Chester are being ripped off by Park and Ride- and that's official!"

Officials admitted that car parking and P&R "have been viewed as a cash cow". Despite this, the report also showed that the number of Park & Ride passengers had actually dropped in each of the last threee years.

The report also pointed out that car park income, tourist information visitor numbers and shop occupancy in the city centre were all down...

All of the land in the Green Belt to the right of that earmarked for the P & R has long been in the ownership of Tesco Ltd. Their self-interest was made clear in document PDC/jal (29th July 1996) which is, somewhat disingenuously, entitled:

"Park and Ride at Hoole, Chester and the opportunities for further public transport improvements". (our italics)

"As you may know, representations on the Draft Chester Local Plan have been made on behalf of Tesco in respect of land we own at Mannings Lane, Hoole.
In essence we believe that a limited amount of development at Mannings Lane could unlock major public transport benefits for Chester as part of an innovative public-private partnership involving Tesco and both the City and County Councils.

In summary the land could provide:

• Park and Ride for at least 1,000 cars
• A dedicated Bus Way along the disused Mickle Trafford railway line to which Tesco is prepared to make a substantial financial contribution.
• A 20 acre public open space and landscaped park
• A tourist information centre
• A Tesco foodstore (ah hah, now we're getting to it)

At this stage we would like to present our proposals for discussion to the relevant City and County Councillors and their officers. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss our ideas with you and your colleagues and to explore ways in which the aspirations of Tesco and the City and County Councils can be achieved by working together in partnership".

Yours sincerely, for and on behalf of Tesco Stores Ltd,

Philip Coles BSC (Hons) ARICS
National Development Executive

This letter was sent to County Councillors Collins, Cussons, Lloyd-Griffiths, Woodfall, Woodhouse and Leatherwood in addition to "the relevant City Councillors and Officers" and to Mr M Pitt, Chief Executive of Cheshire County Council.

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