Developer joins in on station debate


- Credit: supplied

PROPERTY developer Persimmon Homes has joined the debate on the location of Portishead railway station.

A public consultation in 2013 provided three options for the station, with the site opposite the Travelodge in Harbour Road being the most popular but the train would need to cross Quays Avenue and with the current restrictions on level crossings this is problematic.

A station on the east side of Quays Avenue was provided as an alternative and the third option was near Moor Farm, Sheepway.

New consultations this year dropped the Moor Farm option, but Persimmon, which has built thousands of new homes in the town, says it is where the station should be built and fears that if a site is not agreed soon it could affect the project.

In a statement, Carl Haley, managing director of Persimmon Homes Severn Valley, said: “Persimmon has monitored the continuing debate over the location for the new station. Businesses and local people should be concerned that unless the debate is closed out soon, the project may be put in danger if the funding is lost.”

Persimmon says Moor Farm is the least disruptive and most cost effective site.

Mr Haley added: “Persimmon controls the land at Moor Farm, Sheepway, which can provide a station that does not require a level crossing and does not require costly and disruptive work to Quays Avenue, unlike other sites being proposed. Furthermore, the Sheepway solution will not affect existing local residents with noisy, slowing trains tracking past their properties.

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“Our Sheepway solution will also enable a sustainable pedestrian/cycle link along the former railway back into the town centre and enhancement to the current X2 and X3 bus links along with a further car park would create a genuine transport interchange.”

Portishead Railway Group is opposed to the Sheepway site.

Vice chairman Colin Howells said: “We are aware of the offer from Persimmon Homes but the site at Moor Farm has already been ruled out as a viable location as it would not be within easy walking distance of the town centre and has a much lower catchment of households within 1km.

“This location would also be close to some existing residential properties and is inside the greenbelt.

“Portishead Railway Group would not support locating the station in the Sheepway area.”

The railway line between Portishead and Bristol, via Pill, that has been in place for the past 150 years was expected to re-open in 2017 but 2019 is now deemed a more realistic date.

As part of the MetroWest project, the Portishead line will provide people with an alternative way to travel between Portishead and Bristol with an hourly service planned for off-peak periods and a half-hourly service during peak hours, taking around 17 minutes.