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Former ICE president's legal challenge to Ordsall Chord rail link dismissed

The construction of an £85m rail link has been given the go-ahead after a judge dismissed a legal challenge from a former Institute of Civil Engineers president.

In July, Mark Whitby was granted a judicial review into the project after he claimed that it would “substantially harm” the city’s heritage and destroy an area of “international importance”.

However, the high court has now dismissed his claim, meaning work on the project can recommence.

The Ordsall Chord makes up the largest part of a £200m programme of work won by a Skanska and Bam Nuttall joint venture.

The project involves the construction of a bridge linking Manchester’s Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria stations and is also a crucial part of Network Rail’s £600m Northern Hub rail improvement programme.

Preparatory work on the project began earlier this year but had to be paused ahead of the hearing.

The work will now restart and Network Rail said it would complete in December 2017.

In March, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin gave the project the green light, saying that despite the line causing “substantial harm to heritage assets”, the “balance lay in favour” of the Network Rail scheme.

However, Mr Whitby argued that this could lead to irreparable damage and proposed a route further west of Network Rail’s plans.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We welcome this decision as the Ordsall Chord forms a key part of our railway upgrade plan for the North of England.

“More than £1bn is being invested to provide passengers with better services and we plan to start work on the Ordsall Chord as soon as possible.”

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