Public cost of Dowd Dynasty escalates as Merseytravel prepares for huge legal claims over tram land

The public of Southport – and the rest of Merseyside – are bracing themselves for taking another multi-million pound ‘hit’ due to the mismanagement of Merseytravel’s Mark Dowd regime.

Already bearing the costs of a massive new luxury dockland HQ, and of the steel which was bought for the tram which never was, Merseytravel is preparing itself for multi-million pound legal claims over land which it acquired along the route of the failed Merseytram project.

The present £70 million bill for the scheme looks set to rise further as Merseytravel releases 1.6 million square feet of property from 8-year-old compulsory purchase orders and landowners along the Liverpool to Kirkby route look to charge the transport chiefs for massive compensation.

This is the first time that Merseytravel has officially admitted the project will not happen. The scheme was killed off by the last Labour government in 2005, but Councillor Mark Dowd’s transport authority kept the CPOs alive, in the hope of resurrecting the project. These CPOs, were renewed in 2010 but expired last month and the new Chair of Merseytravel, Liam Robinson, is expunging the last relics of the old regime.

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Previously Merseytravel has denied the authority was blighting property but in 2008 the Audit Commission issued a damning report into how Merseytram had amassed costs of £70 million on the tram project without a single rail being laid.

Merseytravel are now to commence negotiations with landowners affected by the tram CPOs and this will also clear the way for landowners to start developing the blighted sites.

Merseytravel Chair, Councillor Liam Robinson said:

“It is disappointing that Merseytram is unlikely to be part of the city region’s integrated transport development, but we have to explore other ways of furthering our overall strategy to develop a world-class service.”

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