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Council says ‘hurdles’ placed in way of delivering new train station in Winchburgh

An artist’s impression of how Winchburgh town centre will look

WEST Lothian Council has expressed its disappointment that ‘hurdles have been placed in the way’ of delivering a new railway station in Winchburgh.

Winchburgh is one of West Lothian’s core development areas, and will see the build of 3,450 new homes by 2025. To support the development, a number of infrastructure improvements were identified – including the provision of a railway station.

However, the council noted that there is no condition on the development’s planning consent which places an absolutely requirement on the developer, Winchburgh Developments Ltd, to provide the railway station.

Through discussions with the council, Winchburgh Developments Ltd has indicated that Transport Scotland are now likely to approve provision of the railway station. However, the council said it understands that Transport Scotland, ‘who would ultimately be responsible for its delivery’, are indicating that the cost will be ‘significantly’ higher than Winchburgh Developments Ltd budget assumption by up to 100%.

The local authority added that Winchburgh Developments Ltd has therefore indicated that they will have to progress with an alternative public transport strategy for Winchburgh, without the reliance on rail, unless the balance of funding for the station can be secured from another source.

Craig McCorriston, West Lothian Council’s head of planning, economic development, and regeneration, said, “We would be concerned and extremely disappointed if a station was not provided at Winchburgh.

“West Lothian Council has always recognised the need for a sustainable transport solution focused on a new railway station since the earliest days of identifying the core development area at Winchburgh.

“Whilst we appreciate that recent train usage data has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the benefit of the rail network does not exist only for commuting and is important for many other purposes including access to education, health care and socialising.

“Unfortunately, the council isn’t part of detailed discussions with Winchburgh Developments Ltd or Transport Scotland but we are encouraging both parties to refocus their efforts on developing a proposal which is deliverable within the budget available or utilising other infrastructure funding support.

“We also endeavour to be involved in early discussions with Transport Scotland and Winchburgh Developments Ltd to gain a greater understanding on their detailed plans including securing the necessary funding for the delivery of a new train station in Winchburgh.”