Threat to feasible £1m

 

Report by Astra Morton

 

A million pounds earmarked to help in the campaign to reopen Portishead’s defunct railway line will be lost if it is not used.

 

A total of £3million was donated by Crest Nicholson to improve transport as part of its planning agreement to develop Port Marine.

 

A third of the money has been allocated to draw up a feasibility study to investigate getting the railway back up and running. But if it is not used by 2017 the funding will be withdrawn.

 

A spokesman for Crest Nicholson said: “The planning agreement was made in 2002 for £1 million to be used for a feasibility study for the railway. “It will be available from 2010 and has to be used by 2017. It cannot be transferred to another project.”

 

Cllr Pasley said: “A feasibility study would be an important step in getting the line back up and running. But if this money was not used for that, it should definitely be used in some way to improve the railway, to make sure its not lost. One option would be to spend it improving the stretch from Waitrose to Quays Avenue. This could then be used for pleasure trips. Another idea might be to build a station, which could double as a health centre. We’ve been searching for a site to build a new health centre and land is earmarked for the station. £1million would build an excellent station, which could also house a surgery and waiting rooms on the second and third floors. The most important thing is the money is used in some way.”

 

The Portishead railway line closed to passengers in 1964 after a review found there was no longer a need for the service. But campaigners in the town, which has been described as the largest cul-de-sac in Britain, have been fighting to get it reinstated to ease transport problems for growing the population of more than 20,000 residents. 

 

 

North Somerset Times   10 August 2005.