Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans for a £6 billion cut in spending and this may put the Midland Metro extension at risk.
In March, the former Labour government proposed to put forward £81m to the extension and £127m to replace the 19-tram fleet. Personally I do not see the point in extending the Metro from Snow Hill to New Street since Snow Hill Station is just a five minute walk from New Street and spending over £80m would not be worth it.
If the extension was to be scrapped then I would be in favour of it. Simply because I do not understand the logic as to why you would want to create a link from Snow Hill to New Street. Would you not be better off creating links to towns like Dudley or even to the Merry Hill Shopping Centre. I mentioned in my previous blog (Midland Metro Extension) that there are buses that do go to Merry Hill but it just takes too long and there are not any direct trains/trams that go to Merry Hill. Maybe creating a tram line that goes to Merry Hill would be something that should be considered.
If you are going to spend money well then why can’t you for example revamp train stations. This is exactly what will be happening at stations on the Chase Line in the West Midlands, Black Country and Staffordshire. £1.6m has been contributed towards this and redeveloping stations will mean improvements on better seating, CCTV and lighting as well as new ticketing machines.
I’m sure people would rather see the money spent on improving rail stations rather than extending the Metro from Snow Hill when New Street is just a five minute walk away. Just hope sense prevails.
Centro will expect a decision to be made in Autumn regarding whether the Metro will be given the green light to be expanded.