Broadland cabinet members agree to take next step in new rail station vision for outskirts of Norwich

Broadland Business Park. Picture: Mike Page

Broadland Business Park. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Mike Page

Councillors have agreed to establish a project board aimed at exploring the possibility of a new rail station on the edge of Norwich.

Broadland District Council's cabinet yesterday discussed proposals for the new Bittern Line stop, which would be near to Broadland Business Park.

The scheme would include a £6.5m station and a more frequent service between Norwich and North Walsham.

Cabinet members have now decided to take the next step in moving the vision forward by committing, in principle, £25,000 from the Broadland Growth Reserve to part-fund more detailed work.

But this would be subject to other interested organisations also agreeing to provide funding.

Phil Courtier, Broadland's head of planning, said it 'was looking like' North Norfolk District Council would be prepared to commit £15,000.

He explained that other funding could be sought from the New Anglia LEP and Lothbury Investment Management, which owns the business park.

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John Fisher, cabinet member for environmental excellence, said: 'I am surprised North Norfolk only suggested they pay £15,000 when they are the big beneficiaries. It is getting their residents to and from the North Norfolk coast.'

Mr Fisher said proposals for the new rail stop had been under discussion since 1989.

A recently published study, which aimed to establish a business case for the project, found that £491,588 would be required to operate the station and an additional half-hourly rail service each year.

But it could generate more than £15m for the area and there would be an increase of 190,000 passengers using the line each year.

Stuart Clancy, cabinet member for economic development, said: 'I am happy to start spending money, but only if we have a timeline, so we know when we are actually going to deliver this station.'

He said without that, members could still be talking about the scheme in '20 to 25 years' time'.

The council agreed to establish the Bittern Line Improvements Project Board.

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