Portishead railway reopening 'within touching distance' as council submits plans to Government
PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 November 2019 | UPDATED: 07:07 12 November 2019
The reopening of Portishead's defunct railway line to Bristol is 'within touching distance' after plans were submitted to the Government.
North Somerset Council has applied to the Planning Inspectorate for a development consent order (DCO) to rebuild the disused railway between Portishead and Pill and to connect to the freight network which serves Bristol through the Avon Gorge.
The application is also seeking powers to compulsorily purchase land required for the railway reopening
Portishead and Pill have been without a railway service for decades, but both will receive new stations and be linked to Bristol Temple Meads if the plans are approved.
Council leader Donald Davies said it is 'committed to investing in local infrastructure'.
He continued: "The Portishead line is a nationally significant project that will deliver wide ranging environmental and economic benefits to our region.
"Once completed, MetroWest Phase 1 will connect an additional 50,000 residents directly to the national rail network and will improve the level of service for a further 180,000 residents on the Severn Beach and Bath corridors."
The £116million plans have been developed in unison by the council and the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), with hopes of cutting car journeys and injecting hundreds of millions of pounds into the region's economy.
More than 500 jobs are also due to be created.
Patricia Greer, WECA chief executive, believes the authorities are 'within touching distance' of re-opening the Portishead to Bristol line.
She said: "It is a significant moment in the wider MetroWest project, which will improve rail services for people right across the West of England.
"We are making major investments through MetroWest to give our region the rail network it deserves.
"Making MetroWest a reality is only possible thanks to everyone involved working together, from WECA and North Somerset Council to the Department for Transport and Network Rail."
A decision on the DCO is due within 18 months and, if successful, construction is expected to begin in late 2021.
Trains are due to run by 2024.