PLANS for a new train station in Wellington could fall through unless Somerset Council diverts up to £4.5million from other projects.

A report suggests the project could be at risk if an access road is not completed ahead of the proposed opening of the station in September 2025.

West of England Developments (Taunton) has applied for planning permission to build a 220-home housing estate and commercial space at nearby Longforth Farm and had been expected to fund the road as part of a 'planning gain' agreement.

But a report to councillors says the developer cannot guarantee constructing the road in time and in any case might sell off parcels of the land once planning permission is granted.

As a consequence, the report says the Department for Transport (DfT) could potentially backtrack on its pledge of £5million of funding towards the station.

READ MORE: Government approves new station for Wellington.

It adds: "Somerset Council may need to play in taking over control of the delivery of the access road and associated infrastructure, including designing the road, submitting the detailed planning application, procuring a contractor and managing the construction of the road.

"In order for the council to fund this, it is proposed that Community Infrastructure Levy (a charge levied on new developments) funding is used to provide cashflow to finance the project, which would be fully recovered from the development of sites surrounding the proposed new station."

READ MORE: Somerset's newest railway station will not be held up by phosphates issues

The report says: "In order for Network Rail to meet the timetable to deliver the new station in Wellington by September 2025, and draw down funding from the DfT’s Restoring Your Railways fund, both Network Rail and the DfT need surety that the access road will be delivered.

"This is a once in a generation opportunity to secure funding for major rail infrastructure investment in Somerset.

"There is extreme competition amongst other schemes to secure funding from the limited pot available from DfT.

"The opening of the station in Wellington has gained significant momentum over the past couple of years, with considerable support from Network Rail, GWR, DfT, the Secretary of State and our own Member of Parliament.

"Further support from the council to facilitate securing the funding through the Restoring our Railways programme and the delivery of the station may be necessary, to prevent preference being given to another scheme instead."

It adds: "There is significant risk that, without this solution for forward-funding the road and associated infrastructure, the DfT might not have confidence in the deliverability of the scheme for a new station in Wellington to agree the funding."

Next Thursday's (January 25) meeting of Somerset Councils' Planning and Transport Sub-Committee is being recommended to approve the temporary use of CIL funding if required.