Warwickshire News Mine

An experiment using OpenCalais and Google Maps to tag news stories

On track with Nuneaton to Coventry rail plans

A commitment to rail travel between Nuneaton and Coventry, including the possibility of a new train station at the Ricoh Arena, has been affirmed with Warwickshire County Council and Coventry City Council submitting a new business plan detailing why the proposal stacks up financially and well as in regeneration terms.

A railway station was part of the original planning application for the £113 million multi-purpose Arena development and it was always intended that it would serve the nearby Arena Shopping Park and ProLogis Park as well as residents living in Holbrooks and Foleshill. But with the major changes in the rail industry the proposals for a new station were shunted into the sidings by central government.

Now Warwickshire County Council and Coventry City Council have submitted a joint business case outlining the reasons why it should be built.

Both are committed to improve commuter rail travel from Nuneaton through Coventry to Kenilworth and Leamington as part of the overall public transport plans for the sub region.

The two councils instructed Halcrow, international transport consultants to draw up the new business case, a job made easier and with more accurate and reliable data now the Ricoh Arena has been open for two years.

It outlines the reasons why the railway station is needed as well as the business thinking about how and why it will work. The Department for Transport’s value for money threshold for a new station is a cost benefit ratio of 1:2.  The business case proves a very strong cost benefit ratio for the proposed railway station of 1:4.7 - significantly higher than the minimum requirement.

The business case has been given to all Coventry and Warwickshire MPs and the Transport Minister Ruth Kelly, recognising that cross party political support is needed to move the plans forward.

With the MPs’ support the councils will now be promoting the Ricoh Arena station with central government.

Cllr Alan Farnell, Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: "For some time we have pushed for an improvement to the line between Nuneaton and Coventry. When the Ricoh was first submitted as a concept the railway station was a part of the proposal - and in my opinion is long overdue.

"Hopefully by working together with Coventry City Council we will get a positive outcome from the Department for Transport."

Cllr Ken Taylor, Leader of Coventry City Council said: “The business plan shows that there is an irrefutable economic case for the building of a new rail station at the Ricoh Arena. The new major business, entertainment, community and retail developments have already had a significant affect in turning around some of the most deprived wards.  But the total benefits cannot be maximised unless this area is served by a totally integrated transport system.

"With over 6,000 new jobs now provided on the former colliery and gas works sites and over 70,000 vehicles coming in and out of Coventry from north and south everyday it makes complete sense to maximise the effectiveness of the rail passenger service of the Coventry - Nuneaton line with the provision of a new station at the Arena.  Both councils see this as the first stage of making the Nuneaton to Coventry to Kenilworth and Leamington railway line a key part of our commuter infrastructure.”