Train station bid needs cash help

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OPPOSITION councillors have demanded Erewash Borough Council ‘puts its money where its mouth is’ and coughs up some of the cash needed to build a train station in Ilkeston.

But the leading group members were branded ‘hypocrites’ at a meeting on Thursday, after they voted to change a Labour motion asking them ‘to provide sufficient finance’ to build a station and instead simply agreed to ‘confirm commitment’ to the project.

Leader of the Labour group Cllr Howard Griffiths said they were not asking the council to pay the full £5m needed to build a station, just provide some money to ‘get things moving’.

“What we want is for you to put some tangible resources forward,” he said.

“Business tax, council tax, new homes bonus – some of that money could be dedicated towards improvement to Ilkeston. The fact of the matter is you are not willing to put tangible resources forward to bring about this station.”

Last month we revealed that Derbyshire County Council still does not know how it will secure the £5m it needs for a train station in Ilkeston.

In an email sent to deputy Labour leader Cllr Frank Phillips and seen by the Advertiser, a county council officer said that ‘early schematic draft plans’ have been drawn up and the scheme is ‘not an illusion’.

But Cllr Phillips dubbed the project a ‘vague promise’. He said: “Show your public bodies that you at least have a plan rather than a blank piece of paper.

“No public body is going to give you money for a blank piece of paper.”

Tory leader of the council Cllr Chris Corbett tried to explain the delays.

“The opening of the new station is complicated by the fact that the proposed site for the station and its car park cross the boundaries between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and between Erewash and Broxtowe, which means you have to work to keep all the authorities working together at the same time,” he said.

Derbyshire already has £1m set aside, pledged by Nottingham City Council, meaning it has a further £4m left to find to fund the project.

The amended motion, which councillors voted for removed the phrase ‘we agree to provide sufficient finance to progress this project as soon as practicable’, leaving just ‘this council confirms its commitment to support the provision of a railway station in Ilkeston’.

Cllr Corbett added: “We will see a station in Ilkeston again because the residents and local businesses want it, the politicians want it, and I believe the rail companies want it.”