A new train station at Haxby could be built by 2024 – according to council bosses, following a meeting with the Department for Transport.
Government gave City of York Council £400,000 last year to create a business case for the new station. And a meeting on Tuesday heard that the DfT is “very enthusiastic” about the new station plans and would like to see it built by 2024 if it would be possible to do so.
Councillor Ed Pearson, who was elected for the first time to represent Haxby and Wigginton in the May 2019 local elections, said bringing a station back to the town is one of his main goals.
Cllr Pearson works for LNER, which he says is his dream job. Speaking before Christmas he said: “One of my motivating reasons for standing for election was to deliver Haxby station.
“I first heard about it when I was aged nine or ten on the radio and I remember thinking ‘wow, we are going to get a station’. I have always been a rail enthusiast.
“I had done my undergraduate dissertation at Loughborough University on the possibility of reopening Haxby Station, which involved a survey of about 150 residents, and an interview with Stuart Baker, a Haxby resident and a senior figure at the DfT who I knew through the local church.
“He compiled the railway atlas of Great Britain and Ireland and was certainly an inspiration for me as I grew up.
“There have been various attempts to get Haxby Station off the ground, and I knew I shouldn’t promise anything in my manifesto.”
Could cost £15m
He said detailed designs of the new station can be created thanks to the government grant and these will then go towards a bid for the full funding for the scheme – which could cost up to £15 million.
He added that he has been speaking to residents about their worries and ideas for the station, saying it is important people are listened to before work goes ahead.
“We had the Chancellor announce in the spending review and national infrastructure strategy that Haxby station is definitely going to happen,” he said.
“The local Conservative MP is also a vocal supporter and has also promised to deliver he funding. It’s great that the station has cross-party support.
“Most two platform stations, with the access roads, bridge, car parks, disabled access and signals if they need changing – would cost £10 to £15 million.
“Haxby station would be quite well used. It’s not just for access into York, but all the connections it provides to Leeds, Manchester, London, Scarborough. All taking unnecessary car trips off the road and out of the city centre.
“There are around 15,000 people in Haxby and Wigginton and even more in the surrounding areas; which is a considerable population and larger than many other recently built stations which have proven to be successful.”
More evidence needed
Neil Ferris, the council’s director of place, told a meeting on Tuesday: “We have still got to do that evidence work in order to get the capital for delivery of the project.
“The team met with the DfT last week, they are very enthusiastic about delivering that station at Haxby. Indeed, if we can deliver it before 2024, they would like to see us deliver it before 2024. It means more jobs and more sustainable transport for the city.”
Cllr Pearson says residents have concerns about where the station will go, how long the barriers will be downs for and the traffic is could cause.
He said people also have worries about where people will park, traffic around nearby schools and allotments that may be on the chosen site.
He said: “I think they are perfectly valid concerns but they can be mitigated – like making sure the car park is big enough, encouraging people to walk and cycle, and re-routing and extending local bus services to serve the new station.
“There’s a possibility of locating it halfway between Haxby and Strensall somewhere along Towthorpe Road. Some people see benefits to taking it out of the centre of Haxby, though this would encourage driving as a primary means of accessing the station, and I’m not convinced this is the right thing to do.
“As we develop the designs further we have to look after those who are worried ones and try to answer their worries.
“We would love to do a proper public consultation as part of the next stages of design and tease out all these concerns and make sure they are addressed as far as is reasonably possible.”