Developers should have to pay for rail study say campaigners

Fraser Pithie

Developers should foot the bill for a new report examining the economic benefits of re-opening the Stratford to Honeybourne railway line, according to the Shakespeare Line Promotion Group (SLPG).

The call comes in the wake of a decision by the district council last week not to focus its efforts on re-instating a heavy rail route, with the authority instead planning to concentrate on exploring other potential transport solutions.

Councillors made the decision after receiving a report which stated that the cost of reinstating the heavy rail link would be in the region of £111million.

However SPLG have criticised last week’s decision, saying it is wrong to rule out reinstating the line based on the costs report, without commissioning an Economic Impact Study (EIS) to examine the economic benefits to the area.

Writing to the leader of Stratford District Council, Fraser Pithie, secretary of SLPG said: “We are disappointed that the Cabinet did not comment or take on board the distinction, preferring to look into other potential transport schemes specifically excluding heavy rail. We are bound to point out that such a position dismisses a heavy rail scheme WITHOUT determining the level of BCR and potential economic benefit, this is untenable.”

He added that the authority could request that CALA Homes, developer of the Long Marston Garden Village, completes a EIS, should the council think it was needed to assess whether the development proposals were sound.

Mr Pithie has previously told the Herald he believes the cost of completing an EIS would be in the region of £35,000-£50,000.

Stratford District Council have declined to comment on suggestion.

A planning application for 3,100 of the proposed 3,500 homes proposed at the Long Marston Garden Village was submitted last June and a decision is scheduled to be made in September.

Late last month the Cotswolds Conservation Board objected to the application, expressing concerns that it could impact on the Cotswolds Area of Natural Beauty.