Page last updated at 11:32 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Railway land pulled from auction

Chard Junction site: photo from Allsop
The station was closed in the 1960s as part of the Beeching cuts

A disused railway station in Somerset, which was due to be auctioned off, has been withdrawn from sale at the last minute.

Yeovil MP David Laws said he had persuaded the company responsible for selling non-operational railway land, to pull Chard Junction from auction.

Campaigners had urged the government and county council to consider bringing the station back into use.

Chard lost its local station during the Beeching cuts in the 1960s.

The Campaign for Better Transport said people in the town have had to drive or catch a bus to Crewkerne or Axminster to pick up a train, which was environmentally unfriendly.

BRB (Residuary), which was selling the land, had said the site was being sold because it had not been used for railway purposes for more than 40 years.

The plot was due to be auctioned at a guide price of £30,000 to £50,000.

'Higher price'

Mr Laws said he spoke to Doug Sutherland, chairman of BRBR and the office of the Secretary of State for Transport late on Monday afternoon and persuaded them to withdraw the lot from sale.

"This piece of land will be critical if Chard Junction station is to be reopened, which is part of the county council's Local Transport Plan," the MP said.

"The car parks at Crewkerne and Axminster stations already operate at capacity and our area needs a new station at Chard Junction with a large car park."

"The county council must now act very urgently to buy this land, so that it will be available to rebuild the station. If they fail to do so now, they will only end up paying a much higher price later."

Somerset County Council was previously offered the land for £330,000 and will now have the chance to bid again at a lower price, he added.



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SEE ALSO
End of line for rail campaigners
15 Dec 09 |  Somerset
Move to reinstate lost rail lines
15 Jun 09 |  England

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