Reopening of Bristol Road station in Stonehouse a step closer

The reopening of Bristol Road railway station in Stonehouse is now a step closer.

A feasibility study on the reopening of Stroudwater Station, which closed in 1965 as part of the Beeching cuts, will now be carried out after £50,000 was awarded through the Government’s Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund.

The news is a boost to campaigners who have long called for the station to be reopened to allow direct access to Bristol.

Currently, those looking to travel to Bristol must change at Gloucester or Swindon – or travel to Cam and Dursley station to catch a direct train.

Cllr Carol Kambites, deputy chair of Stonehouse Town Council, said: “We are delighted that our bid has been successful. The award will pay for the necessary studies to progress to the next stage.

“We are grateful for the support of many people including Stroud District Council and Siobhan Baillie.

“We know that there is much more to be done, but we are really encouraged that the long-held aim of reopening Stonehouse Bristol Road Station may become a reality in the not-too-distant future providing a direct link to Bristol for residents of the Stroud Valleys.”

Siobhan Baillie added: “Reopening the station has been a 20-year campaign for so many people so I am thrilled to have secured some buy-in from the Government.

“But it wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the amazing community effort to persuade ministers the project has real merit.

“This is what happens when we all work together for the good of our communities.”

“I am now looking forward to the next stage of the journey to realise the dream of reopening a station at Bristol Road Stonehouse. There is much to do if we are to secure all the finance needed but this feasibility money is a big step forward.”

Stroud District Council are also backing the project.

Cllr Chloe Turner, chair of the council’s environment committee, said: “This successful bid is part of our commitment to support the expansion and improvement of public transport services across our District to benefit residents, businesses and visitors alike and to reduce our carbon emissions from transport.

“In the new draft Local Plan for development in the district to 2040, the council continues to identify a site at Bristol Road in Stonehouse, and will actively support the re-opening of a station there.”

Gloucestershire County Council are yet to officially come out in support of the project – despite more than 1,300 people signing a petition calling on them to do so.

Cllr David Gray, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “We are developing a large county-wide study which will model public transport use and provision.

“This model will allow us to better plan for important public transport decisions in the future within our Local Transport Plan.

“This study will continue to explore the strategic factors we need to consider before introducing any new stations, such as journey times, reliability, line speed, and if the route will be used for freight as well as local commuter journeys.

“We are aware there are limited opportunities for new stations along the line so we need to make sure any decisions we make provide the maximum benefit to Gloucestershire residents.

“Going forward we will be involving partners in discussions to make sure any changes to the rail network meet the needs and vision of the county both now and in future.”

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