CIVIC leaders have vowed to work with developers to ensure a new railway station is built to serve a 6,000-home development.

Council bosses said a station would be a "huge asset" to people living at Welborne Garden Village, which is due to spring up near Wickham.

They spoke out after Network Rail announced there were "no current plans" for a new transport hub in the area.

A spokesperson said: "These proposals usually need to be promoted and funded by a third party such as a local authority or a developer.

"We believe the popular Eclipse Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service between Gosport and Fareham could be extended into the Welborne development to provide a fast, dedicated bus route that connects to Fareham station.

"It would be a better option for passengers in terms of connectivity to the wider area and beyond than a new station on the Botley line.

"However, we recognise the aspirations of the local authority and the developers.

"In 2017 Network Rail were commissioned by Fareham Borough Council to carry out an engineering feasibility study that looked at the most likely location for a station in the Knowle area."

Sean Woodward, leader of the council, said the study concluded that a station serving the Welborne development was viable.

He added that the council and the landowner took steps to ensure nothing was done that would jeopardise its provision.

"I believe a railway station will be a huge asset to Welborne's residents and we will work with developers over time to secure its provision," said Cllr Woodward.

Options are thought to include a two-platform station at the former Knowle Halt, which used to serve a former mental hospital.

The station opened in 1907 and was known as Knowle Asylum Halt and Knowle Platform being renamed Knowle Halt. It closed in 1964.

Welborne Garden Village was given outline planning permission last year and is said to be the biggest development ever approved by the council.

The 1,000-acre scheme includes shops and schools as well as thousands of homes.

The applicant, Buckland Development Ltd, will need to secure consent for a much more detailed application before work can start.


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