SEP 00] WARWICK DISTRICT COUNCIL NEWS
Plans On Track For
Site of New Rail Station
by ARRYN BUGGINS
Support for a rail station by the tip
in Kenilworth is set to get the approval of Warwick district
councillors who have been studying local reaction to ideas put out to
Officers have recommended members pick
the site at Pipers Lane, off Whitemoor Road, saying this is the better
location of the two
Two polls in the town have shown 81 and
90 per cent support to link the largest town in Warwickshire without a
station back to the rail network for the first time in nearly 40
Residents were asked to choose between
the town centre site where the old station used to be and where the
tip is now.
The Lockhart Close site in the town
centre site is more easily accessible, but has no car parking. The
other site is a little more remote and is bigger with more parking and
facilities, but has rallied opposition from residents of nearby Cherry
The county council ran a public
consultation and poll in April and that information has been
Warwick District Council meets on
Monday and officers say the newer site is the best choice and are
asking members to back their report. Then it goes to county council,
as highways authority, which will decide what happens next.
Central Trains wants to run a new local
service from Nottingham and Leicester through Warwickshire to Oxford.
Virgin Cross Country is also interested in calling at Kenilworth.
Neither option is likely to offer
direct rail links to London, forcing people to change at Coventry or
The location of the station and the
funding of the work – platforms, lighting, car park, ticket office
and staffing – would fall on others, such as the county council,
Railtrack and any European or Government funding on offer.
With the imminent opening at Warwick
Parkway - offering a direct link to London with free parking and only
four miles south of Kenilworth - some fear a Kenilworth local station
could be a white elephant as rail companies fight over passengers.
John Rush, group manager for
Warwickshire engineering design services, said of the survey analysis:
“The overwhelming majority of
responses confirm support for a new station in Kenilworth.
“However, the total number of
responses represents only a small percentage of the Kenilworth
population. Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that the people
of Kenilworth either support the provision of a station, or are
indifferent to it.
“The large majority of respondents
who support the station proposal prefer the Piper's Lane site.
However, responses show that the issues of on-site parking is a
significant one, and it may be fairer to conclude that the preferred
site is one that caters for on-site parking.”
Members of Warwick District executive
will meet on Tuesday and are expected to give support to a station in
Kenilworth and back one of the sites, with officers saying Pipers Lane
looking the best bet.
A report from senior officers said it
would be easier to use the site by the tip, as the town centre option
could end up slowing down the project and costing a lost of more
money. It said:
“It is clear there is support for a
station within Kenilworth, and that in a number of respects, the two
sites are evenly matched.
“Clearly, however, the key
difference is in the availability of car parking. Parking is seen as
essential to the success of any scheme as evidenced by the results
of the public consultation survey of potential users and from
discussions with train operators.
“Car parking could be provided at
Pipers Lane within land entirely owned by the county council,
however it could not be provided at the old station site without
further land acquisition.
“This would inevitably increase the
costs of developing the station at this site above those currently
anticipated. It would also delay any implementation of the
Railtrack and rail companies back the
scheme. Railtrack Midland director Richard Fearn said it is a case of
‘when’ and not ’if’ Kenilworth gets a station and he thinks it
could open in 2002.
Much of the work behind the scenes has
been initiated by Andy King MP (Lab, Rugby and Kenilworth).
He has held meetings with rail
operators, Railtrack and local councils. He brought Virgin Rail boss
Chris Green to Kenilworth to look at the sites.