Forget leaves on the line and the wrong type of snow, work on Ilkeston’s much-anticipated new £6.5 million railway station has been delayed......by NEWTS!
The go-ahead for the platform was given last year after a long-running campaign backed by the ‘Tiser and Erewash MP Jessica Lee.
Construction at the site between Coronation Road and Millership Way was due to begin last month in order for the platform to be open by December — meaning Ilkeston would have its own railway station for the first time in 40 years.
But the ‘Tiser has discovered this week that work has been delayed until October due to the discovery of the protected great crested newts and the need for additional flood works.
Derbyshire County Council confirmed the opening would be delayed until spring next year due to a number of ‘unavoidable setbacks’.
The newts were discovered when workmen cleared the site and an application has now been submitted to Natural England for a licence to work there.
Derbyshire County Council’s deputy cabinet member for jobs, economy and transport, Councillor Andy Botham, said: “We’re disappointed that these delays mean that we won’t be able to finish the station by December. But I want to reassure people, despite the delays the station will open next spring.”
Cllr Andy Botham added: “Building a station is a complex civil engineering project and we’ve needed to work with many organisations. We’ve had a number of setbacks which were beyond our control and couldn’t be foreseen.
“We know that this will be frustrating for local people, as it is for us, but we are doing all we can to get the station built as quickly as possible.”
Significant additional flood prevention work also needs to take place and four large culverts will be built under the planned car park to take any flood waters. Because of the extra time this will take a temporary car park will be built.
Jessica Lee helped secure a government funding package to build the new station and said she was extremely concerned that the council were announcing delays in the ground works.
She said: “I understand that the project has been delayed until ‘spring 2015’. Hopefully, it’s just a coincidence that this will be the time of the next General Election.”
She added that she wanted to “make it clear that this is an important project for everyone”. She said: “I will carry on the leadership of this campaign and will seek urgent answers.”
Once work starts it is likely to take place six days a week, with some work taking place overnight, in a bid to speed up progress.