Station for Leigh Park could be just the ticket

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It might be an opportunist, headline-grabbing ploy in the run-up to the general election, but there is much sense in Tim Dawes’s call for Leigh Park to have its own railway station.

Perhaps, at first glance, it might seem ridiculous.

But give it some consideration and one begins to see the benefits it would bring.

Mr Dawes is the Green Party’s candidate for Havant, the party calling for the renationalisation of the railways at a time when a record number of passengers (1.5bn) used the network last year.

Despite the soaring cost of train travel and the often appalling conditions in which passengers have to sit or stand at peak times, letting the train take the strain is more popular than ever.

Now take a look at the massive number of new homes being built in the wider Havant area and, in particular, in the Leigh Park and West Leigh conurbation.

Most of the occupiers of those homes will look to Portsmouth for jobs, shopping and entertainment. They will need to get there. Bus services, particularly at night, are poor and no one needs reminding of the grinding congestion caused by the car in the city.

Mr Dawes’s opponents say there is ‘no proven demand’ for a new station a relatively short distance up the track from Havant. That might be true at the moment, but wait until those hundreds of new homes are built.

Of course, getting new stations built is a long and bureaucratic process. In recent decades there have been vociferous campaigns for new stations at Paulsgrove, Farlington and Copnor in Portsmouth. They all came to nothing.

However, an important seed has been sown. We now wait with interest to see which politicians, if any, continue to run with the idea after May 7.