PERSHORE’s MP Harriett Baldwin has called on Network Rail to stop ‘dragging its feet’ and clear delays so an improved car park can be created at the town’s railway station.
No building work has started at the station despite planning permission being granted 18 months ago for a new 64 space car park on the site.
The long-running saga looked set to be coming to an end in January when planning chiefs at Wychavon District Council unanimously approved a planning application from landowners Carlton Smith Ltd which included an amended car parking layout for 52 spaces for commuters.
It was hoped the approval would then lead to successful negotiations taking place between the landowners and Network Rail over a land swap but no progress has been made more than two months after the approval.
At a Pershore Town Council meeting held last Thursday (April 10) Coun Julian Palfrey told members of his frustration over the lack of progress made and that Network Rail failed to attend a recent meeting to discuss the works.
And now, Mrs Baldwin has written to Network Rail and ask chief executive Mark Carne to investigate the latest delays preventing work starting.
The West Worcestershire MP been working behind the scenes to try and help Network Rail secure a land swap deal with local landowners which will allow work to start.
“This saga has been dragging on for too long and Pershore people badly need a proper car park so that they can make best use of the station,” she said.
“At the moment the station is not running at capacity because they aren’t able to park at the station. Local people are fed up at having to drive to Evesham, Stratford or even Birmingham to get a train.
“We all hoped that a deal had been reached on the land swap but now Network Rail seems to be dragging its feet.
“The funds are in place so I would like to see some urgent progress and so would the people of Pershore.”
But a Network Rail spokeswoman said the delays have meant the firm were now having to look at other ways to fund the project.
“Network Rail remains keen to improve Pershore station car park although the progress of this scheme has been stymied by issues around the land swap, which has unfortunately affected the funding stream,” she said.
“We are currently working closely with First Great Western and the Department for Transport to identify alternative funding opportunities with an aim to deliver this scheme soon.”