Rail campaigners point to economic benefits - The Evesham Observer

Rail campaigners point to economic benefits

Evesham Editorial 21st Oct, 2019   0

CAMPAINGERS who want to see the line re-opened between Honeybourne and Stratford upon Avon have claimed the move would benefit Vale commuters.

The Shakespeare Line Promotion Group wants authorities to look into reopening the Cotswold Line, which has been closed to commuter trains since the 1970s.

But should it been given the green light once more, campaigners say the line would provide better connections for the area’s growing population and even raised the prospect of 60-minute journeys between Evesham and Birmingham a reality.

Secretary of the Shakespeare Line Promotion Group (SLPG), Fraser Pithie, said: “We believe that developers should fund sustainable infrastructure improvements, and local people are right to expect their local authorities to use the powers available to them to require things such as a first step to determine if re-opening was economically viable. An Economic Impact Study (EIS) would comprehensively evaluate this.”

“The closed rail route between Honeybourne and Stratford upon Avon could help support the long-term economic case for the Cotswold Line redoubling while representing a significant opportunity to link the South Midlands with Birmingham and the West Midlands,” he added.

The group has asked Cotswold District Counci to engage with other local authorities to obtain the detail and level of potential economic benefits arising from re-opening the railway between Honeybourne and Stratford so the viability of such a scheme can be comprehensively evaluated and considered.

The SLPG have also written to Coun Bradley Thomas, leader of Wychavon District Council and Joe Harris, leader Cotswold District Council about the line.

In the letter they said the Garden Village development in South Warwickshire, which will see growth by around 6,900 new homes at Long Marston will have a significant cross-border impact.

In response, Coun Thomas said: “Wychavon is aware of the potential for re-opening the railway between Honeybourne and Stratford upon Avon and has protected the corridor falling with Wychavon in our local plan.

“We would seriously consider any request for our help in exploring the viability of this project,” he added.

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