Minister backs town transport scheme

Transport Minister Norman Baker MP has spoken about the benefits of planned improvements to public transport in Stratford following his recent visit to the town.

The Minister was shown around Stratford town station and the site for the new Stratford Parkway station at Bishopton by Cllr Peter Butlin, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transport.

The two stations are central to the £8.8 million Stratford-upon-Avon Local Sustainable Transport Project which will deliver vastly improved train services, enhancements to the Park and Ride bus services, smarter choices measures, electric vehicle charging points and a ‘Boris Bikes’ cycle hire scheme.

The county council is funding the project to the tune of £1.86m and the Department of Transport has awarded £4.995m through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

Transport Minster Norman Baker said: “This £4.9m funding will make a big difference to the area – creating growth and cutting carbon in a way that exactly meets the twin objectives of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

“The new railway station and park and ride service will be crucial in encouraging travel by rail, thus easing congestion on the road network as well. The secure cycle parking will also encourage more people to travel by bike and rail – one of the greenest and healthiest ways to travel.”

Cllr Peter Butlin, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transport, added: “The visit of the Transport Minister Norman Baker MP is a ringing endorsement of the Stratford-upon-Avon Local Sustainable Transport Project. It provides recognition that the scheme will provide better public transport for rail passengers in Stratford and surrounding areas, and will help to put the town back on the railway map.

“It is thanks to the Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund that we have been able to take this scheme forward, which will deliver improvements including enhancements at the existing town station and a brand new station on the outskirts of Stratford.

“The tourist industry is worth £360 million a year to Stratford and these transport developments will provide important connections to Birmingham and London for tourists and businesses.”

The scheme has the support of London Midland, Centro and Network Rail, rail users, potential passengers, both Stratford District Council and Stratford Town Council, Sustrans, the Shakespeare Line Promotion Group and Rail Future.

It is forecast that the project will attract 114,000 new rail trips to the new station and the existing town station by 2024/2025. The extra revenue generated will help fund more trains during weekdays, on Saturdays and provide a regular evening service to both Stratford stations.

It is hoped that new evening and weekend services will start in April 2012 and the weekday off-peak services will start when the station opens in December 2013.

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