PROPOSED plans to shape the North’s transport links for the next 30 years have ‘left nothing’ for smaller towns, it has been claimed.

Community leaders have questioned the new Strategic Transport Plan, which aims to improve the transport network to develop economical growth across the North.

The plan aims to improve the East and West connectivity for areas of the North including North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and the East Riding, Hull, Humber through to Greater Manchester, Lancashire and the Liverpool City Region.

The proposal aims to provide a way for the Government to create an extra 850,000 jobs and produce £92billion gross value by 2050.

Pendle Peer Lord Tony Greaves said the plan was based on the largest cities in the North, leaving little for smaller towns.

He said: “It has very little to say about what I would call the areas at the edges and the places in between smaller towns and rural areas.

“I took part in an interesting meeting with top officials at Transport for the North.

“I fear there will as usual be nothing left for areas like much of Lancashire once the main new intercity railways and roads have been built between Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool.”

The proposed plan aims to increase the efficiency and reliability of the transport system, improve access for opportunities and support the environment across the North. It is up for consultation until April.

Burnley’s MP Julie Cooper said the town needed urgent investment in electrification of the rail line to Manchester and for more services to be provided.

She said: “I was far from happy to see that the plans predominantly concerned the major northern cities only.

“In response to this, I challenged Transport for the North’s representatives to explain the fact that towns like Burnley, which are making great advances in manufacturing industries, are being held back by lack of investment in transport links and infrastructure.”

Darwen and Rossendale MP Jake Berry, Northern Powerhouse Minister, said: “The plan is designed for large projects like the national railway.

“It does include corridors like the M65 and the railway link from Manchester to Clitheroe.

“We have to remember it is up for consultation and we can look to make additions and changes to help smaller projects complement it.”