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Vision for new rail station on edge of Norwich moves another step closer

PUBLISHED: 10:53 23 August 2016 | UPDATED: 10:53 23 August 2016

Broadland Business Park. Picture: Mike Page

Broadland Business Park. Picture: Mike Page

Mike Page

The prospect of a new railway station being built on the edge of Norwich has today moved another step closer.

It would see a new stop built close to Broadland Business Park, along with a more frequent service between Norwich and North Walsham.

Broadland District Council said a study on the Bittern Line had found a “strong” business case for both schemes and warranted further research.

It is now looking to work with other partner organisations to move the vision forward.

A council spokesperson said: “Any improvements to the Bittern Line, including the new station, would not only provide better transport links to workers, but would add to the prestige of the Broadland Business Park for jobs growth as a more desirable location for businesses.”

The Bittern service currently runs hourly every day, but that could be increased to every 30 minutes, according to the council.

Further details from a recently completed study of the line will be looked at during Broadland’s cabinet meeting in September.

The council will then look to form a Bittern Line Improvements Project Board later in the autumn.

Should the new station go ahead, it will be the first one to be built in Norfolk for more than 25 years.

However, a council spokesman said that any improvements to the line could still be some years away.

The exact location of the proposed new station has yet to be determined.

Companies operating in the business park have already spoken in favour of an improved rail service to the area.

Stuart Wright, property and facilities director at Aviva, said: “Aviva has a significant presence at the Broadland Business Park and is also a strong supporter of the need for better public transport.

“A train station at Broadland has been a long-term aspiration together with the necessary network of footpaths to allow easy access.

“Access by train would reduce the need for employee parking, ease congestion and lead to a reduction in our carbon footprint. We welcome this useful development.”

The new service would most likely be operated by Abellio Greater Anglia, which was awarded a nine-year rail contract for the region this month.

An Abellio spokesman said the company was keeping up to date with discussions around the new station.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Network Rail said: “We have had very early discussions with the council about the possibility of a new station at Broadland Business Park. Any new station would need to be agreed with the train operator and the Department for Transport.”

Phil Courtier, head of planning at Broadland District Council, said: “As part of our joint core strategy, Broadland District Council looks to encourage sustainable development in the district which will help deliver economic success and secure further growth.

“Improvements to the Bittern Line will improve connectivity to Broadland Business Park and support a key employment area in Broadland, bringing benefits to our residents and the wider area.”

Do you think Norwich needs a new train station? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684 or email luke.powell@archant.co.uk

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