By Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas
A feasibility study – commissioned by the council – of building a station on the Fareham to Eastleigh line close to 6,000-home Welborne project was carried out by Network Rail in 2017.
It considered four options for a station on the single-track section of the line and the estimated base cost for phase 1 – a single, 250m-long platform with access and car parking – of the option closest to the proposed village was just under £11 million.
There would also be room for a future phase with a double track and two platforms.
Noting that the recommended option would be within the boundaries of Welborne, Fareham Borough Council Executive Leader Councillor Seán Woodward said: “The findings of this feasibility study are extremely promising for Welborne Garden Village and for residents as a whole.
“A railway station at Welborne is part of our vision for a well-connected thriving new community and we recognise the strong employment and social benefits that this would bring.”
And Welborne master developer Buckland confirmed that its plans included land for a potential rail link though it would not be responsible for providing the station.
Independent campaigning group Railfuture has welcomed the proposal to build a station for Welborne but argued a lower cost option would be to not have a station building and to reduce the length of the platform to 132m – long enough for a 5-car train but with longer trains having selective door opening.
‘long way off’
Now that the funding is in place, the council will work to complete the business case – including potential costs, passenger demand and practicalities of introducing new services, as well as the wider social, economic and environmental benefits – by March next year.
Fareham Borough Council’s Executive Member for Planning and Development Councillor Simon Martin, accepted that the arrival of the railway station is “a long way off” but added: “Being supported by grant funding from the Government means that we can move this process forward without risk of impact on other council services.”
The council has a dedicated webpage for the Welborne Garden Village development which can be accessed HERE.
There have been several iterations of the outline planning application and approval for Welborne, the final one of which – dated September 30, 2021 – requires that work on the highway improvements at Junction 10 of the M27 must begin within three years.
Photograph (top): Diagram of possible location of Welborne railway station. Railfuture.