Will Preston be spanner in the works for Carnforth's Great British Railways HQ bid?

The bid for Carnforth to become the new headquarters for Great British Railways could be scuppered by Lancashire County Council submitting a bid for Preston instead.

By Michelle Blade
Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 12:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 1:38 pm

Lancaster Civic Vision have been working with David Morris MP to secure the Great British Railways HQ for Carnforth.

The organisation has been alerted by David Morris MP that, despite over 350 people having signed their petition, the County Council are going to submit a bid for Preston, and that the City Council are now making their own bid for Carnforth.

David Morris MP is leading a debate in Westminster Hall today (Tuesday) regarding this proposal for Carnforth.

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Morecambe MP David Morris speaking in the House of Commons

Mr Morris has already told Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that he believes there is no better location than Carnforth for this major project and intends to explain in Parliament why the town should be chosen.

David Morris MP presented a petition to Parliament last Tuesday regarding Carnforth becoming the home for the Great British Railways.

A spokesman for Lancaster Civic Vision said: “Lancaster Civic Vision continue to support the position that Carnforth should be location chosen for the bid. There are many reasons why Carnforth represents the best option for this investment. These include the contribution that this would make to the Levelling Up agenda, a strategic position close to the M6, a long history of being a critical rail base and iron processing centre, and the fact that the area remains a major supplier of stock and engines for maintenance and supply of excursion trains with skilled staff.

"This last factor is particularly important. Great British Railways have announced that following receipt of submissions from local authorities they will short list a number of locations. They will then will give the public the opportunity to support and vote for their preferred location from the shortlist. The result of this vote will be used to measure the level of public support for each location and will be considered as part of final decision making.

Carnforth Station and Visitor Centre.

“Lancaster Civic Vision are of the opinion that the British public’s high degree of awareness and affection for Carnforth, as a result of Brief Encounter, gives it a very significant competitive advantage in the public voting stage of the selection process.

“Carnforth Station already has an iconic status with the British public as a result of it featuring in the classic film Brief Encounter.

"Carnforth is the only location in Lancashire with this advantage. By opting for Preston we believe that the County Council are squandering this trump card to secure the investment for Lancashire.

"The bid must be Carnforth!”

Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard in BRIEF ENCOUNTER shot at Carnforth Railway Station

David Morris MP thinks Carnforth stands a good chance of winning the competition which has been launched to find a town or city outside London which could be home to the new headquarters for Great British Railways.

Mr Morris presented a petition to Parliament last Tuesday regarding Carnforth becoming the home for the Great British Railways.

Lancashire County Council is responsible for submitting an Expression of Interest for the new HQ before the March 16 deadline. The GBR Transition Team will shortlist the best applications in May, after which a public vote will help determine the winning location. The final decision will be announced this summer.

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MP bids for Carnforth to become new national railways HQ