MP puts case to Transport Minister

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THE ADVERTISER’S Back on Track campaign has gained speed after proposals were greeted with a ‘positive reception’ by the Secretary of State for Transport this week.

Erewash MP Jessica Lee and representatives from Derbyshire County Council met with the transport minister, Justine Greening, in parliament on Thursday to discuss funding for the £5m project.

Derbyshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for Highways and Transport, Cllr Simon Spencer, said: “We had a very positive meeting with the Secretary of State and we look forward to receiving further contact from her department about how they might be able to support this project in the future.

“With a population of 40,000, Ilkeston is the largest town in the UK without a train station – despite having a passenger railway running through it.

“If a station was built it would reduce congestion on local roads – particularly to Nottingham – improve access to jobs, training and education for Ilkeston residents and attract more people to the town to access its facilities.

“It would also support economic growth and vibrancy by helping the town accommodate up to 2,700 new houses, improve traffic noise and air quality and support our commitment to support environmentally-friendly forms of travel.”

Erewash MP, Jessica Lee has backed the ‘Tiser’s campaign since she was elected.

She said: “I have set out to Justine Greening the full social and economic benefits to the area if the train station can be reopened.

“The need for the station goes well beyond train travel, this would enable commuters, businesses and visitors to more easily access Ilkeston and make young people more mobile for jobs and training.

“There is a window coming up in the franchising arrangements and timetabling which could accommodate a stop in Ilkeston. I am urging the Department to step in and help at this time.

“Ms Greening listened carefully and asked helpful questions regarding the benefits of the scheme. She commented that the case had been put to her in a strong and clear way.”

Any development would intercept the Midland Mainline between Nottingham and Sheffield, with an estimated cost of £5m.

The Nottingham Housing Market Area’s joint planning advisory board has already put up £1m, providing the remainder can be sourced from the government’s transport budget.

Advertiser editor Peter Hemmett also wrote a letter to Ms Greening explaining why we are determined to see a train station built in Ilkeston.

He said: “The reason we have been so resolute in our battle to get this town a station is simple really. The benefit it could have to our residents and our town makes it a no-brainer.

“A train station would have a remarkable impact on Ilkeston itself. Not only will it ease pressure on the congested road network, but it will show potential investors in the area that this is a town going places.

“A railway station is a must for any modern town and improved travel links could make a massive difference in encouraging new businesses to set up in Ilkeston.

“The community has made its feelings clear on this issue through our paper and are desperate to see this train station scheme get off the ground.”

Miss Lee said that she hopes to have a response from the Department for Transport within the next few weeks.