Why the North West is the jewel in the UK's crown

The sun rises behind the Blackpool Tower in Blackpool, Lancashire. Picture date: Friday April 2, 2021.
The sun rises behind the Blackpool Tower in Blackpool, Lancashire. Picture date: Friday April 2, 2021.

Meet Bradley Harris, our North West reporter

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I’ve lived in the North West for most of my adult life, and although I’m originally from Wales, my decision to move here was worth the journey. It wasn’t long before I was calling it home.

As a region, it has everything you could ever need: big cities, a cracking nightlife, the best chippies, charming attractions, not to mention areas of outstanding beauty right on your doorstep. But above all, it’s home to real, genuine people.

I feel incredibly proud to be a reporter in the North West. It’s a chance to show off our region in a way that hasn’t been done before. I want to celebrate our success stories, but also highlight the issues across our communities and how they can be solved.

We’re already halfway through 2021 and there is still a lot of uncertainty about what the future might hold for the region – be it how many tourists plan to grace the Lakes this summer or whether Manchester’s famous Christmas markets will be back serving strudel and schnitzel – there is no doubt that the pandemic has only added to an already long list of challenges ahead.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, attends a Transport for the North board meeting at the Hilton Hotel in Leeds.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, attends a Transport for the North board meeting at the Hilton Hotel in Leeds.

As we start to ease out of lockdown, transport, housing and the environment are fast becoming key issues for the North West.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has made transport his single biggest priority, calling it “over-priced, unreliable and fragmented”.

Where I live in Greater Manchester it costs £4 to get into the city centre by bus. In London that same journey would cost £1.55.

For communities in Cheshire who live near the planned high-speed railway line, HS2, they will be disrupted by the construction of Phase 2a which goes from the West Midlands to Crewe.

A aerial view of The Royal Albert Dock and Liverpool Museum. Picture date: Monday May 31, 2021.
A aerial view of The Royal Albert Dock and Liverpool Museum. Picture date: Monday May 31, 2021.

Meanwhile in other parts of the region commuters are all too familiar with the words “rail replacement bus service”, along with constant cancellations of rail services despite regular fare increases.

If you think that’s rubbish, Lancashire produces up to 600,000 tonnes of waste every year, and in 2019 had one of the highest rates in England for rubbish going to landfill.

Protecting green spaces and the environment seems to be a big issue for our region. In Merseyside it has been a big and controversial subject for years. There have been battles over proposed housing developments in the south of the city, one of which caused the council to be taken to court by local people.

Meanwhile across the North West there aren’t enough houses for people to live in. People are being forced to rent properties which are badly looked after by private landlords who keep pushing rent prices up.

People are being forced to rent properties which are badly looked after by private landlords who keep pushing rent prices up

Bradley Harris

At GB News we’re putting a spotlight on the issues affecting the North West. We want to hear the stories that you care about and show the challenges you’re facing every day. We also want to celebrate the good news stories and speak to people who are doing great things in the region.

By the end of 2023 all of Liverpool city's parks will be protected from development. The council is aiming for everyone to live within a 10 minute walk of a park or green space. Meanwhile, volunteers in Cumbria have been scuba diving to the bottom of the Lakes to clear up litter in an attempt to preserve wildlife in the area.

Buses and trams in Greater Manchester could be brought back into one system by 2025 to try and improve public transport. It would mean an integrated, London-style public transport system where people can take as many buses and trams as they like in any given day and only spend up to a cap.

As a North West reporter for GB News, I’m really looking forward to meeting real people with real stories to share with our viewers on a national stage. I want to know what’s happening in your street, in your town centre and throughout your city, because what matters to you, matters to us.