Housebuilding plans would threaten any hope of restoring Shropshire to Staffordshire rail link

Plans to build homes on part of the old railway line that once linked Shropshire with Staffordshire could threaten any hope of restoring the route, a councillor has warned.

Housebuilding plans would threaten any hope of restoring Shropshire to Staffordshire rail link

Eric Carter, a member of Telford & Wrekin Council, has met officers from Staffordshire County Council to discuss his concerns over proposals to build to the west of Stafford.

The new homes would cover part of the old line that once ran from Stafford to Shrewsbury, and Councillor Carter is asking the route to be protected.

"We would not dream of saying, Do not build the housing estate, but if possible try to find a way that rail line is not put in jeopardy," he said.

"I met with Staffordshire County Council last week and what I am trying to say is make some provision so that if the line is going to be crossed there is a bridge put in so if we ever get the rail route it could cross it.

"I said, Please if you can, do your very best to see that there is a way we can keep this line open."

The 14-mile railway line between Stafford and Newport closed in 1966 and is now a cycle route, but Councillor Carter, who represents Newport East, has never abandoned the hope that the line could return to the railways.

He will hold another meeting with officers at Staffordshire County Council to persuade them to protect the line.

Councillor Carter said the recent restoration of direct services between Shropshire and London had given county rail campaigners renewed optimism for the future.

"A lot of people in Newport would like to see that rail route reopened," he said.

"There will be a push for more and more people to use rail and when we consider the West Coast mainline which this would be linked to - Euston to Glasgow. When we consider that you can get to London from Stafford in an hour and 15 minutes it is much quicker than going through Birmingham New Street.

"I am optimistic this could one day become a reality. At some future date this line could be utilised either by rail or tram link."

He said the cycle route could run side-by-side with the rail line.

"My thoughts are at least we have the track route preserved because it is going to be used by cyclists and pedestrians that will help make sure in the future nothing else is built over it.

"It could one day be utilised by all forms of transport. It might not be in my lifetime but I am keen to see this some time in the future."

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