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Mayor Backs Call For New Rail Stations in Coventry
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street is supporting proposals which could lead to two new rail stations in Coventry. Local Conservatives want the council to explore the feasibility of reopening Coundon Road station and building a new station in the east of the city.
Mr Street, who heads up the West Midlands Combined Authority, believes that two new railway stations would cut traffic on the city’s roads, reduce journey time and help tackle poor air quality.
Coventry’s Conservatives have now launched a consultation exercise with local residents to gauge public support for the schemes, delivering a survey to addresses across Coundon, Binley and Willenhall.
Mr Street said, “We’ve all been stuck in traffic jams and the problem’s not going away. That’s why we need to think differently and more ambitiously. New rail stations would give people an alternative to the car that would cut traffic, improve air quality and boost the economy.
“They’re being progressed across the West Midlands and we can get them for Coventry too. However, we first need to establish a business case which is why we’re consulting local residents before we do anything else. We’re really keen to hear what you think.”
The two proposed sites have been chosen strategically. Coundon Road station would be situated close to an air quality hot spot and Bablake School, which attracts a lot of traffic from outside of the city. A new station on the east of the city is desirable as there are currently no stations to the east of Coventry within the city boundary.
Local Conservatives argue there is a clear demand for better rail services in Coventry which could help Coventrians travel more sustainably, citing the huge growth in passenger numbers at the city’s main station as evidence. In 2010 the station was used by around five million passengers annually, by 2017 that figure had risen to more than seven million.
How people move around the city has become a big issue following the announcement that motorists could face a congestion charge to improve air quality. Coventry Conservatives say that a congestion charge for older cars will not improve air quality in the longer term and will target poorer drivers while others simply purchase newer cars. They believe that without sustainable alternatives for travellers, cars will continue to be a major source of pollution in the city.
Local Conservative leader, Cllr Gary Ridley, said, “In Coventry, Labour’s decade in power has left us with increasing congestion and poor air quality. They’ve just not done enough to give residents an alternative to the car which means we’re now faced with the prospect of congestion charging.
“Whatever way you look at it, people won’t make smarter travel choices until those alternatives are there. So, we’re asking the people of Coventry to look again at rail travel and the role it can play in reducing pollution and congestion. Fewer car journeys mean quicker car journeys and we’d all breathe cleaner air.”
Originally named ‘Counden Road railway station’, the station in Coundon opened to passengers in 1850 and closed in 1965. Much of the original architecture is still in situ and station buildings are now used by the adjacent Bablake School.
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