New railway station plan gets £330k funding boost

A new railway station for a proposed 'garden community' in Staffordshire has moved a stage closer after it was backed by Government funding.

Plans for a new railway station
Plans for a new railway station

The planned site, for the north of Stafford borough, could see thousands of new homes built as well as schools, health provision, new jobs and improved transport links.

Now ministers have announced the Meecebrook site, to the west of Stone at Cold Meece, is to receive £330,000 to help prepare the plans – with the majority of funding earmarked to look at building a new railway station.

The station would sit on the West Coast Mainline, which runs through the Black Country and Staffordshire towards the North West and Scotland.

The funding is part of £15 million allocated to the national garden communities programme, which aims to help level up the country and regenerate mainly rural areas.

Frances Beatty, Stafford Borough Council's cabinet member for economic development and planning, said the award was a "further demonstration" of the confidence in the local authority and its partners to deliver such a major project.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for this borough to deliver a new community which we want to be the blueprint for best practice in so many fields such as the environment, transport, education and housing," she said.

"And it is great news to see we have been successful in securing additional funding to investigate the feasibility of a new railway station on the West Coast Mainline for the proposed garden community.”

The latest funding brings the total investment from the government for the project to nearly £1.5m since 2019.

Council chiefs say they are working closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) on the scheme. They say preliminary studies have already been undertaken over key infrastructure – including highway improvements, and water and energy provision – to ensure the development is sustainable.

Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills, Philip White, said: "We’re committed with Stafford Borough Council and other partners to ensure the Meecebrook development is sustainable with careful and considered planning, and so we welcome this additional funding from Government to help us achieve this.

"We want to get the best deal for our communities through building new schools, road improvements with cycle and walking facilities and installation of digital technology, including gigabit broadband and 5G mobile connectivity.

"And as we rebuild our economy after the pandemic this development must have the highest architectural standards and support our net zero ambitions."

The garden communities funding is part of a £69m programme to deliver up to 16,000 homes per year from 2025.

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