Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, this week held a meeting with the Right Honourable Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport to discuss proposals for a new station at Green Park Business Park in Reading.
Network Rail is currently undergoing a review into all major infrastructure projects planned over the next five years, including electrification of the Great Western line, to ensure that they remain within budget. In June, the Transport Secretary appointed Sir Peter Hendy, former head of Transport for London, to oversee this review.
Alok requested the meeting to seek assurances from the Transport Secretary that proposals for a new rail station at Green Park Station would be fully considered in any decisions made following the outcome of the Hendy review.
The new station at Green Park is fully funded having secured a funding allocation through the Thames Valley Berkshire Growth Deal and Section 106 private sector developer contributions. However, the project could face difficulties if the electrification of the Reading-Basingstoke line was delayed beyond December 2018.
Alok played a key role in lobbying for this funding and made the case for the Green Park Station during a Parliamentary debate in May last year. The new station will benefit many hundreds of employees working at Green Park Business Park and help reduce road congestion on football and rugby match days at the Madejski Stadium.
During the meeting, Mr McLoughlin assured Alok that the electrification of the Great Western line remained the Government’s top priority, but that he would look into the Green Park station proposals and write to Alok with further details.
Alok Sharma said: “After years of chronic underinvestment in our railways infrastructure, the Government is now investing record amounts to ensure it remains fit for purpose as well as able to accommodate the record number of trains. It is important that governments regularly review all major infrastructure projects to ensure that they remain on budget and I sought this meeting to emphasise the importance of a potential station at Green Park and make sure that Network Rail’s review would fully consider how proposals for the new station might be affected by any changes to the electrification programme.”
Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport said: “As I have made clear, the electrification of the Great Western Mainline remains a top priority. I am grateful for Alok raising the issue of Green Park Station with me. I know just how hard he has worked to get this project funded and what a difference this station will make to the people of Reading.”
Photo: Alok Sharma with Patrick McLoughlin MP, on one of the Transport Secretary’s visits to Reading