IT’S full steam ahead for plans to build new train stations in Wellington and Cullompton, as the sum of money invested into a feasibility study has reached £100,000.

It was announced at a meeting held by the Devon and Somerset Metro Project Group that Mid Devon Council would be matching the £40,000 that Taunton Deane Borough Council has committed.

This money, alongside £10,000 each from Wellington and Cullompton Town Council brings the total to £100,000.

The money will be used to conduct a feasibility study to find out how viable the two stations would be.

Taunton Deane MP, Rebecca Pow, said: “The interested stakeholders have been carrying out joined up talks thus far and there is another meeting due shortly.

“In he rail minister, just last week, announced that we can apply to the New Stations Fund without having completed the GRIP 3 feasibility study and in my many meetings with her she has urged us to press on with the proposals so they can be fully considered by the Department.

“The feasibility studies that are an essential part of the application process will then look at the viability of a station at Wellington.”

More than 200 people attended the initial meeting proposing the idea of a new station in Wellington. The proposal got similar support from Cullompton residents as concerns are growing over the potential congestion new houses could cause for the town. A train station would help to alleviate that pressure.

Deputy leader of Mid Devon, Richard Chesterton, said: “I am pleased to confirm Mid Devon’s support for this work and I hope that through this funding we will move another step closer to securing a new station serving the people of Cullompton and providing a step-change in connectivity for the growing community in the area.

“This funding will allow engineering design work to be commissioned that tests and proves the viability of our concept and which will allow us to continue our lobbying through the lengthy process of embedding this within future national railway plans.”

Spearhead of the station campaign, Cllr Mark Edwards, deputy leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, said: “This is great news and I am delighted our neighbours in Mid Devon have committed funding to the feasibility study.

"Cullompton Town Council has also committed £10,000.

"This is a major step forward, and I am so impressed with the commitment in time and effort that is being garnered to make this idea a reality.

“We are now progressing to a detailed appraisal of what will be required for the study and are working on gaining further support from other organisations.

“The Local Enterprise Partnership is being extremely supportive and, with its help, I am very hopeful we can progress to the next stage soon."

Although £100,00 has been secured, it is not certain that this amount will be enough to complete the studies.

A spokesmen from Somerset County Council said: “This is an early stage in the process and there is currently no funding in place to build the stations.

"It is understood that the £100k will not cover all the feasibility work that is required, but it is a big step forward for the project.”