RAIL campaigners desperate to see the re-opening of the Honeybourne rail line say county council chiefs have wasted an opportunity.
Warwickshire County Council has refused to support a study into the viability of the six mile link between Stratford and Long Marston.
Stratford-Worcester-Oxford (SWO) have accused the county council of passing the buck and not taking a stance on the possibility of connecting Stratford to neighbouring counties.
Great Western Railway included the line in their plan ‘A Joint Vision for the North Cotswold Line’ aimed at creating better links between Stratford, the Cotswolds and the south.
A joint bid for part funding to the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) by Stratford District Council and a private developer was rejected because there was no railway industry interest and the need for further development of the case.
SWO want the scheme be examined to ‘national standard’ which it says would provide a comprehensive analysis which council chiefs could use to determine whether or not to support the Honeybourne line’s reinstatement.
SWO spokesman Fraiser Pithie said: “It is totally unacceptable that Warwickshire County Council, who advise CWLEP on transport, have thwarted a bid for part funding and remain indifferent to the offer of up to £17 million from the private sector towards better transport and the economic benefits that could bring to so many.
“Parliament reiterated only last year it is for local transport authorities to consider in the first instance whether the re-opening of a closed railway line is the best way to meet local transport needs and, if so, whether they would wish to prioritise any such re-opening in bidding for funding from the Government’s Local Growth Fund.
“It’s time elected members on Warwickshire County Council stopped unquestionably accepting every answer given to them by their officers and asked why are the neighbouring Local Transport Authorities in support of reopening.”