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Shropshire
Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Stuart Anderson welcomes Rail Minister to Shropshire for talks on transport links

Stuart Anderson, South Shropshire’s Conservatives Parliamentary Candidate, welcomed Rail Minister Huw Merriman MP, to the county last Thursday.

Rail Minister, Huw Merriman pictured with Stuart Anderson.
Rail Minister, Huw Merriman pictured with Stuart Anderson.

They discussed plans to enhance rail connectivity in the area, particularly at the former Ironbridge Power Station site where planning permission has been granted for a major redevelopment that will see a thousand new homes delivered.

They were joined by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Dan Morris, as well as Councillors Claire Wild and Dan Thomas, to look at how the infrastructure could best serve the local community in Shropshire.

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The site is located 0.5 miles upstream from Ironbridge in Shropshire. It opened in 1969 and stopped generating electricity in 2015.

In addition to the new homes, the site is set to host a retirement village, employment land, leisure facilities, a new primary school, and associated infrastructure. Stuart wants to ensure that the area is served with strong transport links to the wider area and beyond. He and the Minister discussed the role that Very Light Rail (VLR) could play in creating a green transport hub for the local area.

The Prime Minister’s Network North announcement detailed an unprecedented number of commitments to rail enhancements across the country, using funding redirected from Phase 2 of HS2.

Stuart is hopeful some of the investment could be used in the region, including to assist with this particular development.

The £36 billion Network North plan underscores the Government’s commitment to supporting local leaders to prioritise transport initiatives that best support their communities. This provides them with greater flexibility to consider more proposals such as projects that deploy Very Light Rail.

Stuart Anderson said: “It was excellent to welcome Rail Minister Huw Merriman to Shropshire so that he could find out more about our plans to ensure that the Ironbridge power plant redevelopment is well served with strong transport links – including options for Very Light Rail serving as a passenger line for residents travelling in the area.

“I am assured that the Government recognises the value of rail connectivity for Shropshire and the role that it could play in unlocking opportunities for our county to thrive. I would love to see better local rail links, enabling us to build better connected economies and vibrant communities.”

Rail Minister, Huw Merriman, said: “I was delighted to take up Stuart’s invitation to visit Shropshire and find out more about local plans for a green transport hub focused around Very Light Rail. Our plan to improve our country’s transport, Network North, has freed up £36 billion to reinvest into projects that benefit towns, cities, and rural areas across the country.

“Projects like these could play a vital role in connecting communities and keeping the economy moving, ensuring that places like Shropshire have a bright future by providing the area with the huge regeneration opportunities it deserves.”

Very Light Rail in Coventry is an emerging technology being researched and developed by Coventry City Council and West Midlands Combined Authority. The Government has invested over £3.5 billion in buses and light rail since March 2020.

The Network North announcement also included funding for Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) in the North and Midlands for Local Integrated Transport Settlements from 2025/26 to 2031/32. This is a new £4.7 billion fund for the 27 LTAs, outside city-regions, in the North and Midlands, including Shropshire.

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