TAUNTON Deane MP, Rebecca Pow has had an exclusive meeting with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to discuss the Wellington Rail proposal.

Ms Pow said: “Last week I was delighted to secure a meeting with the Chancellor himself to make a strong case for the Wellington Rail Station.

“I stressed that this station will not only be useful for local people, but it will also bring much wider economic and employment benefits, especially enabling users to reach educational establishments up and down the line which are currently hard to reach.

“Securing this kind of infrastructure is a critical part of increasing productivity in the region to build on our connectivity and to help attract business.

“I will be following up this meeting by sending the latest update from our rail steering group together with a clear outline of the economic case.

“Somerset Council has received the provisional planning application with a view to work beginning on construction in June 2024 pending sign-off by the Department of Transport and Treasury which is why my meeting with the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement was so important.”

At the recent meeting of the steering group for the Wellington and Cullompton stations which Ms Pow has co-chaired for the last seven years, progress reports were provided from Network Rail and GWR, clarifying that the outline business case for Wellington station has been submitted to the Department of Transport, with work underway on the full business case with a view to submission to the Department of Transport in December.

Outline planning permission has been submitted to Somerset Council.

Following useful feedback from a range of workshops, the design of the station is progressing which includes brick and glass walkways and footbridge, provision for 88 car parking spaces, EV charging spaces, 20 cycle stands, two bus stops, and a mobility hub.

Work on environmental and ecology measures is also underway.