Rail plans to link town and Bristol reach 'crucial phase'
PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 January 2020
Plans to re-open a rail link connecting Portishead and Bristol have edged a step closer to becoming a reality.
The £116million project would see trains run frequently through Portishead, which would inject money back into the district.
There are also hopes it would solve the gridlock faced by hundreds of motorists travelling in and out of town on a daily basis.
North Somerset Council's Development Consent Order (DCO) for the Metrowest Phase One scheme to the Planning Inspectorate has been accepted by the Secretary of State (SOS).
The authority submitted the application to the Government department in November.
The DCO is looking for consent to start work on re-opening the disused section of the line from Portishead, which has been accepted for examination by the SOS, which now has 18 months to make a decision on the application.
Chairman at Portishead Town Council, Paul Gardner, said: "The authority is very pleased to see the long-awaited Portishead to Bristol railway has finally reached this stage. There is for the first time a real prospect the project will be implemented.
"However, we would also sound a note of caution - Portishead has a huge infrastructure deficit due to massive development and the lack of related infrastructure investment over the last 20 years.
"The railway will only partially make up for this deficit, and we also need to see government investment in our roads and other forms of transport, especially at Junction 19 of the M5, which is dangerous and often gridlocked."
Statutory bodies, landowners and other interested parties will now be written to, formally advising them of the acceptance of the DCO.
Notices will be published in newspapers, and hard copies of the application made available to view at Portishead Library, Pill Resource Centre and Bristol Central Library.
MP for North Somerset, Dr Liam Fox, said: "It's exciting we have reached this crucial phase for the Portishead line.
"I hope all those involved will respond positively and with enthusiasm so we can make speedy progress."
A copy of the application will also be made available online at www.travelwest.info/metrowest