COUNTY Council chiefs have given the green light for the new £22million Worcestershire Parkway railway station.
Members of Worcestershire County Council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee rubber stamped the plans at a meeting yesterday (Tuesday).
The landmark development will reduce pressure on the city’s two train lines and improve journey times to London.
Groundwork for the bold project just outside the city, close to Junction 7 of the M5 near Norton – which will link the Cotswolds and Birmingham to Bristol lines – is scheduled to begin in spring 2016 with the station set to open in autumn 2017.
The scheme is a key priority in the county’s Strategic Economic Plan, and has had support from the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), First Great Western and Arriva CrossCountry, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce and the area’s businesses and MPs.
The station will have a single platform on the Worcester to London line and two platforms on the Birmingham to Bristol line, together with a new station building including a booking office, toilets, shop, disabled facilities and 500 car parking spaces.
Last year, the Worcestershire LEP provisionally allocated £7.5million from the Worcestershire Local Growth Deal towards the new station, with the remainder of the funds – around £14million – expected to come from the council.
The council’s contribution will be recouped through car park and station access charges levied on the train operating companies.
Coun John Smith, cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: “As well as reducing journey times and congestion, the station will improve rail accessibility and connectivity with the rest of the country, and in turn will attract inward investment and create new jobs.”
Gary Woodman, executive director of Worcestershire LEP, said: “The decision is great news and we will now work to increase the awareness of redoubling of the Cotswold Line, which alongside the new station would bring a number of benefits, such as faster journey times to London.”
Visit www.worcestershire.gov.uk/parkway for more information on the project.