Following years of relentless campaigning to get Fleetwood’s railway back on track, and submitting a petition in Parliament with over three thousand signatures from Fleetwood residents three years ago calling for its reinstatement, I am delighted that finally the Department for Transport have agreed to fund the development of the line!
In a statement, Minister of State for Transport Wendy Morton confirmed the development:
“Following funding to support submission of a Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) for the scheme, the Fleetwood SOBC has been assessed and I am pleased to say that the Department would like to support the further development of the scheme by providing further funding from the Restoring Your Railway Fund.
The assessment considered the strategic and economic case presented, deliverability of the scheme and infrastructure requirements, with a focus on the transport issue and strength of case for intervention. This scheme presents potential to reconnect communities in the Fylde Peninsula, and I look forward to seeing it developed further. There are several areas identified in the SOBC, in particular demand potential and key cost risks, which need to be better understood. The Department will therefore be instructing Network Rail to lead a limited and focused study on these issues to support a decision on advancing the scheme to Outline Business Case development.
Funding will be provided to Network Rail to work in collaboration with Lancashire County Council (LCC) and other key stakeholders including Blackpool Transport to progress the scheme to the required standard. The Department will continue working with the Council and Network Rail on the development of this scheme and are in touch with Philippa Williamson (LCC) regarding next steps. The enclosed feedback also aims to be supportive in this process.
We expect to announce the progression of schemes into the next stage on 18th June 2022…Congratulations on progressing to the next stage.”