Ripping up existing rail links at Winnington Works would amount to ‘climate change vandalism’, according to a Northwich councillor.

This follows Tata Chemicals Europe announcing it is exploring the possibility of building 1,200 homes on redundant land at the site.

Among the list of concerns raised by residents involves infrastructure in the area, which is already at breaking point and would struggle to accommodate more traffic.

This is alongside other worries which surround the availability of education and medical facilities.

One solution to infrastructure problems could be to bring back into life the existing rail tracks that are still present on the site.

These tracks branch off the Mid Cheshire Line in between Greenbank and Northwich stations, and were previously used by freight trains during the Works’ heyday.

And to not take advantage of them would be ‘criminal’, says Witton councillor Sam Naylor.

“The railway tracks already exist at the site and it would be absolutely criminal to rip them up,” he said.

“Rail connectivity in Cheshire, and Northwich in particular, has been an issue for some time, and it would be a great opportunity to bring the tracks back into use.

“It would also be a good way to get vehicles of the road, and to just disregard them amounts to climate change vandalism.

Northwich Guardian:

The tracks are still in existence at the site (Credit: Google Maps)

“We could have a rail link from Winnington to Northwich, and then on to Manchester or Chester.

“There is no reason why they shouldn’t be used, and to not even look into the possibility is just madness.”

Cllr Naylor, who sits on both Northwich Town and Cheshire West and Chester councils, also renewed his call for water taxis to be utilised on the town’s historic waterways.

“When I first mentioned water taxis being used along the River Weaver, people laughed at it,” he added.

“But I think it would be a great way to transport people from housing developments in Winnington into Barons Quay.

“It would definitely reduce the number of vehicles clogging up roads in the town.

“The river is crying out for water taxis.”

He originally floated the idea at a CWAC cabinet meeting in May 2018 after praising the new Northwich Transport Strategy which had been adopted.

At the time, he said: “With the extra thousands of people that are now living in Winnington Village and will continue to populate that development, I just think it would be fantastic if they could hop on some fast water taxis from Winnington straight into Barons Quay.

“It would be really revolutionary and popular.”