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Major Updates

Further section 42 consultation from 19 July to 19 August 2019 is now open

In July 2019, following our review of title and Land Registry information, we further identified those with an interest in some of the land required for, or affected by, the proposals to re-open the Portishead branch line. We have contacted affected parties directly with details of how to respond. The consultation is now open. The documentation that is listed in the correspondence can be viewed by clicking the link below:

Development Consent Order for Phase 1 is to be submitted to the Government for formal approval

At a Full Council meeting in June 2019, North Somerset Council agreed to submit a Development Consent Order (DCO) application to the Planning Inspectorate for the £116m MetroWest Phase 1 scheme. The DCO application seeks powers to build and operate the disused section of railway from Portishead to Pill, gain environmental consent to undertake works to the existing freight railway through the Avon Gorge and obtain powers for the compulsory acquisition of land. Councillors also agreed to enter into a new formal agreement with Network Rail.

Relaunching train services from Portishead with new stations at Portishead and Pill is a key part of the first phase of the MetroWest programme of transport improvements across the region being led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and North Somerset Council.

The West of England Joint committee has also confirmed a £500,000 allocation to the MetroWest scheme, following the Transport Secretary’s commitment of an extra £31.9m to complete the funding needed. The Severn Beach line extension to Bath and Westbury is also on track for 2021.

Once the application is registered by the Planning Inspectorate, the Secretary of State for Transport is expected to make a decision within 18 months.

Subject to final business case approval, construction work is expected to start on the Portishead to Bristol line in December 2021 and take around two years to complete.

Funding secured for Portishead Rail

In April 2019, MetroWest Phase 1 received over £31m funding from the Department for Transport (DfT). The announcement was made by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport at a visit to Portishead. The funding announcement comes ahead of the submission of a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Government this Summer. All nationally-significant infrastructure projects require a DCO before they can progress.

As well as reopening the Portishead Rail branch line, with two new stations at Portishead and at Pill, this MetroWest scheme also includes vital improvements to passenger services along the Severn Beach and Bristol to Bath Lines.

Stage 2 consultation report

The Stage 2 Consultation on re-opening the Portishead branch line as part of MetroWest Phase 1 was held from 23 October to 4 December 2017.

We received over 1,000 responses from members of the community, statutory bodies, landowners and other interested parties. Issues raised have been captured and considered in the Stage 2 Consultation Report which is now available and will help develop the scheme.

We will continue to engage with individual stakeholders on outstanding issues or concerns regarding the development of the project as we finalise the application for a Development Consent Order (DCO). Thank you to everyone who took part.

Read the consultation report.

Further section 42 consultation from 15th February to 19th March 2019 now closed

In February 2019, following our review of title and Land Registry information, we further identified those with an interest in some of the land required for, or affected by, the proposals to re-open the Portishead branch line. We contacted affected parties directly with details of how to respond. The consultation has now closed, thank you to those who took part. The documentation that was listed in the correspondence can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Large Local Major Schemes: Bid for construction funding - December 2017

In December 2017, the West of England LEP and the promoting authorities (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and the West of England Combined Authority) submitted a funding bid for MetroWest Phase 1 to the Department for Transport's Large Local Major Schemes programme.

More information, and a link to all documents submitted, can be found on the MetroWest Phase 1 page of this website.

Stage 2 Consultation on re-opening the Portishead branch line as part of MetroWest Phase 1

Our Stage 2 Consultation was held from 23 October to 4 December 2017. The consultation has now closed.

Thank you to everyone who took part. We will consider all the responses we received and will publish a report in early 2018.

Detailed information about MetroWest Phase 1, including the information presented in our Stage 2 consultation, is available to view at our document store website.

MetroWest rail improvements

The MetroWest project is a package of major rail improvements for the West of England region. The project is being delivered by the West of England councils, who are working in partnership with Network Rail and Great Western Railway to develop the scheme.

The MetroWest proposals are being delivered in two phases, Phase 1 and Phase 2, along with a separate new stations package looking at the potential for future new stations.

MetroWest Phase 1

The MetroWest Phase 1 project is proposing to re-open the Portishead rail line to passenger train services and to enhance local passenger train services on the Severn Beach and Bath to Bristol lines.

The plans include a new rail station at Portishead and the re-opening of the former station at Pill.

The project is led by North Somerset Council on behalf of the four West of England councils: Bristol City; Bath & North East Somerset; North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

More information about MetroWest Phase 1 can be found on our Phase 1 page.

MetroWest Phase 2

The MetroWest Phase 2 project is proposing to re-open the Henbury Line to an hourly spur passenger service and increase train services to Yate to a half-hourly service.

The plans include new rail stations at Henbury, North Filton and Ashley Down.

The project is led by South Gloucestershire Council on behalf of the four West of England councils.

More information about MetroWest Phase 2 can be found on our Phase 2 page.

New stations package

The West of England councils are looking at the potential for new stations at Saltford, Ashton Gate and Corsham. These stations are not part of the MetroWest Phase 1 and Phase 2 proposals, and are subject to business cases being completed and funding being identified.

Proposals for a new station at Saltford on the line between Bristol and Bath are being pursued by Bath & North East Somerset Council.

Bristol City Council has commissioned a study to investigate the likely costs, benefits and operational feasibility of a new station at Ashton Gate. More information can be found on our New Stations Package page.

MetroWest news

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