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RMT calls for Northern to be stripped of franchise as basket case outfit hits rock bottom on passenger satisfaction

RAIL Union RMT has called for the basket case Arriva Rail outfit to be stripped of the Northern franchise, with the routes returned to public ownership, as passenger satisfaction statistics have now showed that the operator has hit the relegation zone in the latest league tables, with only Govia Thamelink's notoriously hopeless Great Northern arm keeping them out of bottom place. The Transport Focus survey shows that passenger satisfaction with rail services overall has fallen to a 10 year low, overall satisfaction with rail services was 79 per cent, the loWest level since 2008 with more than 1 in 5 passengers not satisfied. RMT says that the figures, which also show that satisfaction on Scotrail has dropped to a 16 year low, reinforce the national campaign for the entire network to be taken under direct control with the spivs and speculators, who have reduced services in the nation that gave the railways to the world to a global laughing stock, swept away for good.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:- "These figures are a disgrace and show that privatised rail services on failing Chris Graylings watch have sunk into terminal decline. This greedy bunch of private operators are mugging off the British people and laughing all the way to the bank while passengers are paying the highest fares in Europe to travel on overcrowded and unreliable services. The whole lot should be swept away and it is no wonder that over 70% of the public now support RMT's campaign for public ownership.

The usual suspects are propping up these league tables and it is no wonder that German owned Arriva are looking to offload the toxic Northern franchise in a fire sale to the highest bidder. The Arriva Rail North services are rotten at the best of times and no 1 should forget that it's the companies cash led assault on passenger safety that has forced RMT members to engage in a campaign of action in defence of a safe, accessible and secure railway for all. There's an easy solution, end this privatised racket and run our rail services as a public service in the public interest and that goes for Scotrail as much as it does for anywhere else."

Green light on clearing works for key City Centre scheme

PALL Mall proposal:- How remediation site at Pall Mall, in Liverpool's Commercial District, would look with new green square. A ₤4.2m plan to clear land for a potential ₤200m Grade A Office scheme in Liverpool City Centre has been given the green light. Liverpool City Council's planning committee have approved an application to remediate land at Pall Mall, in the City's Commercial District, which has been earmarked for a proposed 400,000 sq ft development project, led by Kier Property and CTP. The remediation works, to be undertaken by contractor Willmott Dixon, are expected to take around 8 months and is being supported by a ₤3.5m grant from the Local Growth Fund. Local Growth Funding is awarded to the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and invested through the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority through its Strategic Investment Fund.

Enabling works will include a ₤1.25m scheme to relocate a substation on site, which will be fully operational by March 2020 to serve future development. A planning application is expected to be submitted by Kier Property and CTP shortly which will outline a 3 phase development.  The proposed Pall Mall scheme, to the rear of the old Exchange Station site, will feature 3 office buildings, a hotel, and around 80,200 sq ft of public space all, centred around a new green square for workers, residents and the local community to use. The open space, to be developed in the scheme's 1st phase, would see a doubling in the number of trees and planting than currently in existence, with additional public realm incorporated into the high quality design.

Once completed, the development would result in an overall increase in the amount of public space with new pedestrian walkways and public seating to accompany a pavilion that could be used as a café or restaurant. Ground floor space is earmarked for complementary retail or leisure units to animate the public realm.  Kier Property and CTP has appointed architect Allies and Morrison alongside award winning landscape architects Re-Form to design the scheme which formed part of a public consultation exercise in July 2018.  The proposed Pall Mall scheme has been identified as a key project for the future growth of the City's Commercial District and its ability to meet current demands and attract blue chip businesses, with the supply of available Grade A office space at an all time low. Liverpool City Council has appointed highly experienced planning team, led by Arup, to produce a Spatial Regeneration Framework (SRF) to master plan the future development of the City's Commercial District.

The SRF, which will look at building design guidelines and public realm strategy, will also identify opportunities to attract new commercial investment; such as the Pall Mall scheme; and to enhance connections across the district and to the wider City Centre, including:- Peel Land and Property's nearby ₤5bn Liverpool Waters scheme.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said:- "The proposed Pall Mall scheme is of huge importance to the development of our Commercial District as we need Grade A office space to attract companies and highly skilled jobs to the City.  I'm delighted we have the green light to begin clearing the site in readiness for the next stage of this scheme which if approved will deliver a much needed high quality green square and new public realm for workers and residents to enjoy throughout the year. Judging by the designs it would set a new benchmark for our open spaces and help shape the wider development of the district."

Tom Gilman, managing director of Kier Property (North), said:- "This is an important milestone for Pall Mall and Liverpool's Central Business District, bringing the development 1 step closer. Liverpool City Council's reclamation and enabling works are essential to the development of the site which will provide a new and enhanced space for those working, living and visiting the City Centre. We have been working hard with our team, other stakeholders and vitally the local community, to progress our development plans and look forward to [submitting our planning application for the 1st phase of development shortly. Our aim for the new Pall Mall scheme is for it to be a destination space in the City Centre that will create new jobs and training opportunities."

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