Venue: Webcast - Remote Meeting. View directions
Contact: Charles Yankiah (0161 474 3206)
Note: In the light of government guidance on social-distancing and the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, this meeting will be held remotely. The press and public are able to follow the proceedings by watching our live webcast of the meeting. You can do so following the directions above, or by clicking on View the Webcast below.
In attendance were the Werneth Area Committee Councillors.
Declarations of Interest
Councillors and officers to declare any interests which they have in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.
Councillors and officers were invited to declare any interests they had in any of the items on the agenda for the meeting.
No declarations of interest were made.
Councillor Call for Action (CCfA) - Temporary Withdrawal of the rail service on the on the Rose Hill Line
Under the provisions of CP12 in the Constitution ‘Councillor Call for Action (CCfA) – Protocol’, Councillor Lisa Smart has submitted a CCfA in connection with the announcement that Northern Trains are withdrawing the rail service on the Rose Hill line for three months from 14 September 2020. This will mean no service from Rose Hill or Woodley stations and a substantial reduction in service from Romiley station.
Over 5,400 people have signed a petition against this withdrawal of service.
Under the terms of the Constitution:the Area Committee may decide to:-
(a) Assist with the resolution of the issue if it has the necessary power within its terms of reference and delegated budgets.
(b) Make recommendations to the appropriate Cabinet Member or Corporate Director.
(c) Establish a working group to look at the issue in more detail i.e. undertake a local scrutiny review of the issue.
(d) Take no further action but give reasons as to why it has decided to take no further action.
(e) A combination of the above.
Members are invited to debate the issue and agree the way forward as set out at (a) – (e) above.
Officer contact: Charles Yankiah, 0161 474 3206, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and outlined the format for the meeting. It was explained that although the proceedings constituted a formal meeting of the Marple Area Committee, members of the Werneth Area Committee had also been invited to attend and participate freely in the discussion on this item as the subject to be discussed equally impacted the area and those residents represented by that committee.
Councillor Lisa Smart (Chair of the Werneth Area Committee) introduced the “Councillor Call for Action” that she had initiated in relation to the announcement that Northern Trains were proposing to suspend the rail service on the ‘Rose Hill line’ for three months from 14 September 2020, which would result in no rail services at all from Rose Hill or Woodley railway stations and a substantial reduction in the service at Romiley railway station.
A representative from Northern Trains (Christopher Jackson, Regional Director) also attended the meeting and provided the Area Committee with information relating to the temporary suspension of services between Manchester Piccadilly and Rose Hill station along the ‘Hyde Loop Line’. He stated that due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company was operating in unprecedented times and it was explained that Northern Trains were under significant staffing pressures which contributed to the decision to suspend services on this line. Specifically, it was stated that drivers could not operate interchangeably across all routes as drivers needed specific route knowledge; there had been a number of drivers that had retired, and it had not been possible to recruit new drivers in the current climate; and a number of drivers were shielding, all of which had resulted in a reduction of 42 drivers available to the company.
Mr Jackson stated that the Hyde Loop line had been selected for the suspension of services due to the availability of rail services from other stations within a reasonable proximity of affected stations which would not necessarily be the case elsewhere on the network.
The following comments were then made/ issues raised: -
· Clarification was sought regarding the future of the Rose Hill line and whether the suspension of services was a precursor to closure. In response, assurances were given that there were no plans to close the Rose Hill line permanently.
· Clarification was sought regarding how the decision was made to suspend the Rose Hill line and the Hyde Loop line. In response, it was noted that the decision was taken operationally by Northern Trains. It was also stated that Rail North Partnership are responsible for the franchise but rely on the operational expertise of Northern Trains to make recommendations about the service that could be supported to meet demand where it was needed most.
· Clarification was sought regarding the staffing pressures raised by Northern Trains. In response it was noted that there was general capacity to cover routine absences, but there was no cover available for 11% of additional absences as a result of Covid isolation either by vulnerable people self-isolating or shielding.
· Members expressed their frustration with regard to a failure to implement a cross-ticketing agreement with Stagecoach for the use of local bus services during the period of rail service suspensions. In response, it was stated that under normal circumstances Stagecoach would have agreed a commercial partnership, however, they had concerns regarding their ability to accommodate their own passengers and additional numbers displaced form the railway while also being able to implement social distancing measures.
· Members also commented that although Northern Trains had proposed the suspension of the Rose Hill line and the Hyde Loop line that the Committee didn’t want that to be a fixed position and that opportunities should continue to be explored to provide some level of service on the line for the community.
· Clarification was sought regarding the results of the school survey for Marple Hall School and whether Werneth and Harrytown Schools were included in ... view the full minutes text for item 2.