Full steam ahead for station after council presses for 2016 opening

Celebrations continue over the return of Kenilworth station after fresh approval was granted to keep things on track for a 2016 opening.

But the future of the station’s steep footbridge steps are yet to be decided as concern mounts over access.

Warwickshire County Council’s regulatory committee this week voted unanimously to renew approval for construction of a brand new station in Priory Road.

The Bailey Buildbase site was given outline permission for the build in 2011 when plans for the station’s return picked up, but this expired last month.

The renewal means that things are still on track to be up and running for passengers in December 2016 in what has been welcomed across the town as “excellent news”.

Cllr John Whitehouse (Lib Dem, Abbey) said there was widespread support for the scheme at Tuesday’s meeting and that so far, everything is on track for the opening.

“We are all very pleased that things are progressing and people are very excited about the thought of a station again,” he said.

“This got unanimous support on Tuesday which is very good news for Kenilworth.”

But he said there are still issues to be addressed over the current footbridge access before final plans for the build can be accepted.

Kenilworth Town Council has already raised concern over the bridge and future access for wheelchair users, cyclists or pushchairs.

Speaking at their last meeting, members felt the Farmer Ward Road to Priory Road crossing needed to be upgraded to modern standards to improve access, and not closed off during construction.

Worry over access at the steep steps was also raised by Richard Morris of Kenilworth Cycleways and discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.

Currently plans for the station include lifts to access both platforms, but these will be part of the station rather than public walkways.

Warwickshire Council officers have assured that they are currently looking at all options and that access issues will be addressed before final decisions are made.

It will now complete its work to acquire the land and construction is expected to start by the end of next year.

Plans for the station include a new footbridge, lifts, north and southbound platforms, cycle storage, dedicated bus stop and car parking.

Construction is expected to take 12 months and, once complete, the line will serve Coventry and Leamington.

As landowners, Warwickshire County Council is responsible for overseeing planning matters at the site.