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Major Updates

Portishead Branch Line (MetroWest Phase 1) - Section 56 Planning Act 2008, notice of accepted DCO application

The Planning Inspectorate (on behalf of the Secretary of State for for Transport) has accepted the Development Consent Order (DCO) Application made by North Somerset District Council. The Application was made on 15th November 2019 and accepted for examination on 12th December 2019.

A hard copy of the full suite of Application documents, including plans, maps and other documents may be inspected free of charge from 14th January 2020 until at least 26th February 2020 at Portishead Library, Pill Resource Centre, and Bristol Central Library.

The Application documents are also available to view online here, or through the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

Paper copies can be provided on request from the Applicant by writing to “MetroWest Team, North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ”  for a charge of £500 plus VAT for the full suite of documents. USB device copies can be provided free of charge and are available on request from the Applicant, by emailing or calling 0117 4286210.

Registration of interested parties with the Planning Inspectorate closed on 26th February 2020.

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.

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. The bid consists of:

(a) Completed bid template (Part One)
(b) Checklist to highlight where key information can be found in the Outline Business Case (Part two)
(C) Outline Business case

The Outline Business Case details the scheme's preferred option with an identified defined scope, detailed costs and appraisal and a firm delivery plan for construction. The Department for Transport will decide which bids receive funding for construction as part of a competitive process.

All documents submitted are now available to view using the links below.

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 Phase 1

Upgrading the train service for the Severn Beach Line, the Bath Spa to Bristol Line, and reopening the Portishead Line to passenger services is a priority for the West of England’s local authorities. It will increase the UK’s passenger rail network by 14 kilometres (9 miles), connect an additional 50,000 people to the rail network and improve the existing train service for 180,000 people within 1 kilometre of existing stations.

The plans include a new rail station at Portishead and the reopening of the former station at Pill. The project is subject to funding and meeting all the regulatory and technical requirements.

MetroWest Phase 1 Development Consent Order

In order to re‐open the railway from Portishead to Pill, North Somerset District Council requires a Development Consent Order (DCO) under the Planning Act 2008.

This webpage will be updated to keep you informed throughout the DCO process. It will include information on each stage of consultation and how you can comment on the proposals to help shape the project.

Ashton Vale Road level crossing

We have now completed highway traffic modelling to determine the traffic impact of our proposed service for the Portishead line.

Our modelling shows that the existing Ashton Vale Road level crossing can remain open with specific mitigation and it won’t be necessary to provide alternative highway access to the Ashton Vale Industrial Estate.

Our proposals are to:

  • Extend the length of the left turn flare lane on Winterstoke Road for vehicles turning in to Ashton Vale Road;
  • Optimise the phasing of the Winterstoke Road  junction traffic signals by using a Microprocessor Optimised Vehicle Actuation (MOVA) system which responds to live traffic volumes by adjusting and optimising the timing of traffic signal phases to make best use of the available capacity; and
  • Install a ramp to the north of the level crossing to connect pedestrians and cyclists from Ashton Vale Road to Ashton Road and the existing network of at grade and subway footpaths and cyclepaths.

We have used the results of our highway traffic modelling to produce the following videos which show the traffic impact of our scheme in the AM and PM peak hours.

Ashton Vale Road industrial estate alternative access consultation 2016

In November/December 2016 we undertook a micro-consultation that proposed options for alternative highway access to the Ashton Vale Road industrial estate.

We did not publish a consultation report because it became apparent in early 2017 that the cost for a half hourly passenger train service on the Portishead line was unaffordable and we would have to change the overall scheme. Our consultation report (based on a half hourly passenger service) is now available from our document store.

Portishead Branch Line Consultation 2015

The Development Consent Order Stage 1 consultation for MetroWest Phase 1 took place from 22 June to 3 August 2015.

95% or respondents supported the proposals either entirely or mainly.

Information about the consultation can be viewed below.

Portishead Station Location Consultation 2015

Information about the consultation can be viewed below.

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