No Negative Impacts on Security and Defence
I wanted to see the Secretary of State for Defence, Michael Fallon’s, views on the re-opening of Corsham Station. After a reply from the MOD, it is clear that defence is not a problem and the re-opening of the station would not put Corsham in any danger.
Wiltshire Feasibility Report by Atkins
Wiltshire Council issued a report to be put together about the business side and profit that can be gained by introducing a railway station at Corsham. The report that came back showed stunning evidence that 400,000 passengers would be expected to come to Corsham each year and will increase annually. The Vice-Chair of Corsham Town Council, Peter Pearson, also presented arguments to get a station built in Corsham to the Corsham Area Board. Up to six universities would be interested in the developments at Corsham and an estimates 7,000 students may end up coming and living in Corsham. Bath University have already discussed setting up a campus if Corsham Station ends up being built.
Raising Corsham Station with the Secretary of State for Transport
On the 29th of October 2015, I stressed the viability of the re-opening of Corsham Station with the previous Secretary of State for Transport and how it should be high on the agenda for projects funded by the government. I put forward the argument that re-opening Corsham Station has good value for money overall for the western railway links.
If you would like to listen to me speaking to Patrick McLoughlin, click HERE.
Debating in the House of Commons to get the Station Re-Opened
On the 8th of July 2015, I spoke in a debate regarding the long-term economic plan for the South West and raised the important issue of improving rail infrastructure at Corsham station.
Michelle Donelan MP “Does my right honourable Friend agree that our transport links are vital to advancing the south-west’s economic growth, and that new stations, such as Corsham in my constituency, will be a huge boost for the economic growth of not only the Chippenham constituency but the entire region?”
Dr Fox MP: “If we are to have railway infrastructure, it is very important that we have access to the railways, and the new station at Corsham is very important in that, as is wider access to the rail network for disabled people.”
I believe strongly that the re-opening of Corsham Station will put our community on the route to rejuvenating our towns. A prime example of this is the University of Bath’s interest in housing students in Corsham if the railway re-opens – showing Corsham and our surrounding villages hold great potential for investment and rejuvenation.
The Secretary of State for Transport supports railway developments
The previous secretary of state visited to see plans for the rejuvenation of Chippenham Station, and I went to discuss matters of funding for stations – including Corsham. Patrick Mcloughlin MP, said “Michelle Donelan is working hard to improve transport connections for local residents. I am delighted Michelle invited me to meet her today to see the works being undertaken at Chippenham station, which are a result of her campaigning. This government is investing record amounts in our railways, which will result in better journeys for passengers using Chippenham station.”
If I continue to campaign strongly with support from local people who want to see their town rejuvenated by the introduction of the new station, I am sure we can continue to edge closer to the victory we want. Re-opening Corsham station is part of my long term plan for our community, and you can see the full plan HERE.
Getting to the press to aid the campaign
In November of 2014, we managed to get a story in to the local paper and it aided the campaign in many ways. It advertised the backing behind us from the LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership), Wiltshire Council and local business, which allowed some of the residents of Corsham, who were sceptical as to whether it could be reopened, to stay updated and know that the campaign is stronger than ever.
Investment, Jobs & Tourism
The community campaign to re-open Corsham station dates back a generation. Like the vast majority of local residents I speak with, I want to see the station re-open to bring more investment, jobs, shops and visitors to the area. I want the town to flourish.
Recently there have been many exciting developments in our campaign. Firstly, when representatives from the Network Rail and First Great Western accepted my invitation to visit Corsham to discuss what steps need to be taken to finally re-open the station. At that meeting we decided that a feasibility study was needed to prove that a station at Corsham is viable.
Meeting with the Department for Transport & Minister of Transport
In March 2014, I met with the Minister for Transport Stephen Hammond in Wiltshire, where I proudly showed him the improvements that were made to Melksham Station, thanks to the Conservative’s on the Wiltshire Council. I discussed with him three of my main focuses: more local jobs; a chance to rejuvenate our towns and to champion our local community. Corsham station is a key piece to finishing this jigsaw. Stephen then agreed to set up meetings with officials from the department of transport and we proved the business case behind reopening Corsham station. I then invited him to come back for a meeting where I will discuss a survey that was carried out about how many people in Corsham want the station to be re-opened.
When we got the survey completed, an overwhelming 92% of residents in Corsham wanted to see the station re-opened. This support and backing from local businesses and Wiltshire Council means that the campaign to re-open the station has never been bigger.
In October of 2014, I met with officials from the Department of Transport along with campaigners to discuss the social and financial benefits of reopening the station. It is important that any stakeholders or campaigners help to make a long term plan and I am going to work to make this happen.
Corsham Station is backed by Local Authorities & Businesses
Critically, Wiltshire Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) fully back these plans and will fund the station and rail operators are also very positive about trains stopping there.
In recent weeks the campaign for a new railway station in Corsham has really been gathering pace. With the provisional business case made, the support of many stakeholders brings a clear opportunity closer to reality.
For more information and regular updates visit the new campaign website: http://corshamrailwaystation.org. We have begun the formal GRIP process to formally apply for a new station. As a result, we will be meeting regularly with Transport Ministers as this moves forward.
The Next Steps
As I have said before, there is no quick fix and a station will not be built overnight; the key is to gain as much community, business and political backing as possible. I believe we are on the right track and are slowly making progress. I also recently received a letter from the Department of Transport advising me about the New Stations Fund. This encouragement from the Minister will make sure we take this project forward.
If you have any questions about this or any of my other community campaigns, please get in touch with me.