A REPORT on progress towards the potential reopening of a train station in Wellington is being presented to councilors today (Wednesday March 16).
Somerset West and Taunton council members are asked to support the “project governance arrangements” for the next phase of the Wellington and Cullompton station project.
The end product of the exercise, aimed at establishing a “clear line of decision-making and reporting”, will be a final business case for the two stations.
The Department for Transport and interested parties have now agreed that Network Rail will lead the initiative.
SWT’s report to councilors states: “The intention of the project is to restore rail access to Wellington and Cullompton.
“It is considered that this can form part of a more general improvement in the rail service between Bristol and Exeter.
“A key factor in delivering these projects is that both areas are subject to significant housing expansion and regeneration activity, as well as being close to other significant planned growth.”
It is hoped Wellington Station could reopen at some point before 2028, possibly in 2026, “bringing wider sustainability benefits and representing community aspiration”.
A number of studies have been undertaken so far to support the development of the project, including a strategic business case drawn up by SWT and Mid Devon Council in January last year.
A government grant of £5 million administered by Network Rail will allow the next two stages of development and design of the project to progress.
The report states: “Network Rail is committed to working together with developers to ensure wider land use, access, general planning and community issues can be looked at holistically.
“The proposed governance structure aims to continue certain aspects of the current arrangements, but importantly it also seeks to accommodate Network Rail’s new role in leading the project from now on.
“This proposal is considered to provide an appropriate basis for strong decision-making and project coordination to lead the project through the next stages of its development.”
He adds that the reopening of the two stations “would encourage wealth creation and economic activity through better connectivity”.
Both stations were closed during the Beeching Cuts of 1964, which saw rail networks across the UK drastically reduced.
If approved, the new stations would be built on the mainline between Exeter St Davids and Bristol Temple Meads.