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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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It’s all gone south for us northerners

I never was very good at Geography. All that geology and savannah grasslands was dull.

And our teacher always got a flask of soup out of his briefcase halfway through, so the class stank of cabbage.

But even I learned enough to know that Carlisle lies in the north of England.

Yet our great city has not been included in a major new report calling for £15bn worth of funding to improve road and rail services in the region over 15 years.

The One North report was drawn up by Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.

It was backed by Chancellor George Osborne who has already said he is keen on seeing a ‘northern global powerhouse’ developed to balance the influence of London.

All five cities are keen to develop a high speed cross-Pennine rail link, quicker connections with Newcastle and better links with Manchester airport.

All decided not to include Carlisle in the scheme.

According to city council leader Colin Glover, we’re simply too small to count on the big stage.

He says: “We were not approached about this.

“We heard about it once they had done it.

“When this was first mooted, I said there was an awful lot of north to the north of Manchester.

“They are big cities and they don’t see smaller cities like us as having economic clout.

“We are not even on the radar a lot of the time. It is extremely frustrating.

“We have been making our own approaches to the Government about getting a slice of this.”

So the message to us is: ‘know your place.’

We’re in a different league to the cities, so we don’t qualify to be included in any major multi-billion improvement schemes.

Even though shipping products and material across country to and from Newcastle would be so much easier with better road and rail links from Carlisle, rather than having to use increasingly clogged and disintegrating A roads.

Of course we have a small population and are not as industrially developed as our northern neighbours.

But that should be viewed as undeveloped potential, rather than stunted growth.

We have international big names such as McVitie’s, Pirelli and Nestlé. There’s no reason why we should not host more.

The massive investment in the nuclear industry and Barrow shipyards is all well and good, but there is an imbalance here.

We need more and varied businesses and job opportunities.

To achieve this we need our MPs and our local politicians to forge closer ties with their counterparts in these neighbouring cities so we can keep pace with developments like this and be involved in them.

We need to be seen as a part of such adventurous and far reaching schemes as One North, not apart from it.

We are part of the north. We can and should play our part in its much-needed revival.

Have your say

An investment in a faster cross-rail connection from Workington/Carlisle/Newcastle would be a start, but the A69 and the A66 need to be upgraded to dual carriageway from West to East as a matter of urgency.This would hopefully improve the safety and speed of all transport.

Posted by Michael Owen on 28 October 2014 at 12:12

The problem with Carlisle and Cumbria is that it has become that large void between conurbations like Manchester which those in Westminster think is the North and Scotland now with greater autonomy. It is shameful that a Government and bordering regions should treat this area with such disdain . It's no good Colin Glover saying we are too small to count. We should be more aggressive in our dealings with our neighbours and those in Government and if you begin to shout loud enough in the end they will have to take note. There can be no One North without Cumbria and Carlisle . Now let's start by cutting off Manchesters water supply !

Posted by BigH on 22 September 2014 at 15:13

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