CALLS have been made for a new train station to improve public transport and ease congestion.
The Havant Green Party is suggesting a station at the point where Bartons Road crosses the main Portsmouth/Waterloo rail line in West Leigh, Havant where hundreds of new homes could be built over the next few years.
Tim Dawes, the party’s parliamentary candidate for the town, said: ‘Leigh Park suffers from being on the periphery – not just the periphery of Havant but also the periphery of Portsmouth – in terms of employment, leisure and family contact.
‘This means problems with transport costs and reliability of access. The same will be true of the Denvilles and Locks Farm developments with their continuing expansion.
‘Bus services are poor and getting poorer, just as the population in these areas is rising.’
Mr Dawes said Network Rail could take advantage of the existing road bridge and provide platforms on a straight piece of track.
He added: ‘There is plenty of room track side for a minor station and it is envisaged that the same trains that stop at Rowlands Castle and Bedhampton would also stop here. Fast train times need not be affected.
‘As well as serving these growing communities, the new station would also serve the important industrial employment area in the northern New Lane area, such as Colt and Eaton, the new Havant crematorium, and of course West Leigh Park, home of Havant and Waterlooville football club.’
Graham Giles, who is standing for Labour in the general election, agrees that the railway station would benefit West Leigh and said he had spoken to residents who were also in favour.
He said: ‘It will reduce congestion, particularly at times when schools are out. We definitely need much more public transport.’
But John Perry, the Ukip candidate for the town, said he believes there is no call for a new station and added: ‘I don’t see it as a high priority. ’
Meanwhile Conservative candidate Alan Mak said: ‘There’s no proven demand for a new station, and any more stations could slow existing services from Havant to London and Portsmouth. The immediate focus should be ensuring our current train services perform well.’
Network Rail did not respond to The News for a comment.