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Charles Drives Home Metrolink Debate

Published on September 16th 2004.

Manchester Confidential’s Charles Horton today met up with the hundreds of other protestors in Albert Square to show their support for a bigger and better tram system.
Metrolink supporters, including a raucous bunch from Manchester Confidential, led by Charles, whipped up a frenzied, noisy protest complete with whistles, chanting and balloon waving as local politicians and councillors showed their support following Alistair Darling’s decision to pull the plug on Manchester’s extended tram service. At 1pm, a minute of nothing but noise, especially from our Faye, erupted across the city has protesters vented their fury.
Manchester transport chiefs want to build three new Metro lines to East Manchester and Ashton, South Manchester and the airport, Oldham and Rochdale to ease congestion, to boost regeneration and to improve lives for local people and businesses.
But in July, the Government decided to not approve the funding, sparking anger and leading to the scenes we met today in Albert Square.
Speakers included leader of Manchester City Council, Richard Leese, Councillor Roger Jones, Chairman of GMPTE, Leader of Manchester City Council, Keith Bradley, MP for Withington and Councillor Simon Ashley, Leader of the Opposition for Manchester City Council.
Charles represented most of Manchester by saying: “The Metrolink is a fantastic example of public transport. It is clean, quick and efficient. I use it to commute into the city centre. For the Government to go back on its pledge to invest into its expansion is hypocrisy. Not only have they let down the many local businesses who were relying on this, but they have also let down the people of Manchester. The expansion would strengthen the integration of public transport system and help boost the region's economy.”
Leader of Manchester City Council, Richard Leese said: “Metrolink is the best, cleanest and most cost effective way to help local people move around this busy, successful city. Buses and trains alone are not an adequate option. We’ve spent millions preparing for the new lines and we’re ready now to get started. The Government must listen to our case and show some common sense – Metrolink is alive and kicking and needs to grow bigger and better.”
The fury became too much for some as Charles attempted to recreate yesterday’s House of Commons invasion by attempting to jump on stage and flash his backside to the watching Mr Blair - luckily, we were there to stop him.
Got something to say about the great tram debate? Click here to have your say.
Tim Gough

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