Warwickshire county councillors adopt rail strategy - but some feel it lacks ambition

Warwickshire County Council has adopted a rail strategy even though some councillors admitted it lacked ambition

Tuesday, 28th July 2020, 11:09 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th July 2020, 11:12 am
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There was just one vote against the new policy when it came before last week’s July 23 annual meeting of the council but others said they still hoped to amend the document which will run until 2034.

The inclusion of a new Rugby Parkway station and improvements to the existing station in the town centre were praised although concerns were raised regarding increased traffic.

And the lack of a plan to increase services to Stratford were also questioned.

Cllr Jill SImpson-Vince (Con, Brownsover and Coton Park) said: “The pressure on Rugby main station has been growing and growing and we kind of need that release valve of Rugby Parkway. “

And those views were echoed by Cllr Maggie O’Rourke (Lab, New Bilton and Overslade) who added: “I would like Parkway to happen as soon as possible because Rugby station is nearly at capacity.”

Cllr Jerry Roodhouse (Lib Dem, Eastlands) said it was important to look at other forms of transport, adding: “We have to think about getting people to the stations and away from them as well. So I’d like to see a little bit more work done around public transport and the linkages to get a real modal shift in the future.”

And Cllr Yousef Dahmash (Con, Hillmorton) raised traffic concerns.

He said: “Rugby Parkway will be sited in the area that I represent.

"I know that residents in Houlton will welcome the council’s continued commitment to provide it and I am personally supportive of the project but as part of the plans I do want to see a piece of work undertaken to evaluate the impact of the station on traffic levels on the local road network in Hillmorton.

“If that work does show an impact then I would want some mitigation put in place as part of the wider project.”

Cllr John Horner (Con, Arden) called for more frequent trains between London and Stratford.

He said: “Covid of course has happened since this strategy was endorsed and with certain financial incentives issued by the Conservative government I wonder if we shouldn’t be a bit more ambitious.

“My interest is the importance of tourism coming to Stratford town and the importance of an effective link to London. It says in the report that that could be improved with some engineering works and it’s true.

“I would beg the authors of this report to reconsider and perhaps as a result of the Covid financial stimulus perhaps be a bit more ambitious.”