Moreton in Marsh TC announce land purchase

Moreton-in-Marsh Town Council and Great Western Railway have today announced the joint purchase of the brownfield site neighbouring Moreton-in-Marsh Railway Station.

In a deal that is the first of its kind for the rail operator, they have provided 50% of the funding needed to secure the previous Royal British Legion site for the benefit of the town and the railway.

Councillor Eileen Viviani MBE, Chair of Moreton-in-Marsh Town Council said "We are delighted to see this investment in Moreton. It is an important step forward in our long term plan to reduce congestion and improve our High Street for residents and visitors alike.

"This follows on from our consultation with residents in the summer and is great news for the local economy, for the environment and for residents."

Plans are in place to bring the site into use in phases to create an integrated transport hub on the site, delivering low carbon, high quality transport options, helping to alleviate congestion in the Town making it easier to visit and use the High Street.

Partnering with GWR helps to bring forward Phase one of the scheme to create 50 car park spaces along with 50 cycle parking spaces.

Business Development Director for GWR, Tom Pierpoint said "Purchasing the land with the Town Council means that we can now work with them and with Cotswold District and Gloucestershire County Council to develop integrated travel solutions. We are committed to this area. We want to see Moreton-in-Marsh thrive and you cannot get more rooted in the community than by buying land here."

Cotswolds District Council Leader Cllr Joe Harris said: "This is great news for Moreton-in-Marsh. The District Council is keen to see investment into communities such as Moreton that haven't had the infrastructure they deserve despite lots of housing being built. The purchase will not on help improve the town but will also mean better transport options for the North Cotswolds. It is a bold move and one we are happy to support; we now look forward to working in partnership with the Town Council and GWR to develop ideas for the integrated transport hub."

Cllr. Nigel Moor, Cabinet Member Environment and Planning at Gloucestershire County Council said "Gloucestershire County Council are keen supporters of the North Cotswolds Line Task Force who have ambitious plans to improve rail services for Moreton and the whole of the North Cotswolds line. This investment supports those plans and it is great to see Moreton at the forefront of improvements particularly those that support reductions in carbon. We are delighted to be part of the group now working to take forward plans for the site and I congratulate the Town Council and GWR on making this important first step."

Local MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has welcomed the announcement that Moreton-in-Marsh Town Council has purchased the Royal British Legion site adjacent to the railway station. He has been a long term supporter of more investment in rail and improving services for residents and visitors and said "This fits perfectly with the Government's agenda to build back better and to promote active, sustainable travel. It will be good for the local and regional economy and I am delighted to see the Town Council and Great Western Railway working collaboratively to deliver lasting improvements for the town."

Interview Opportunities: Contact Jane Jones (07525 275485) jane.jones@gwr.com for interviews with Cllr Viviani and Tom Pierpoint

Editors' Notes:

  • Rail Industry regulation changed in 2020 which allowed GWR to be a joint partner in purchasing land. This is the first scheme of its kind for them, and potentially the first in the UK
  • The Council has taken out a low-interest government loan from the Public Works Loan Board of £562,500 to be repaid over 35 years. This is a standard way for local councils to deliver new infrastructure.
  • The loan is being repaid partly by an increase in the precept, and partly through partnership with GWR. The Council has previously consulted with the town on the principle of increasing the precept to pay for the loan and received positive support.
  • GWR are also supporting the North Cotswolds Line Taskforce who have submitted plans to Government for improved rail infrastructure and rail services including fast trains to London.
  • Planning applications will be needed for each phase of development.

Posted: Thu, 25 Mar 2021 12:26 by Anita Sach

Tags: Press release