A RAILWAY stop for a prospective 6,000-home town is being explored as a ‘possibility’, The News can reveal.
Mark Thistlethwayte, chairman of Buckland Development Limited, the prospective developers for the new Welborne estate, outlined the idea to have a stop on the edge of the estate between Funtley and Knowle for the rail line towards Eastleigh.
This is something I have keenly been pushing for over the yearsCouncillor Sean Woodward
Mr Thistlethwayte, speaking at a public exhibition of plans for the prospective estate on Wednesday, said Buckland had held discussions with Network Rail about the possibility of a stop.
He said: ‘People have constantly asked us about the possibility of a railway station.
‘You do not have to be a genius to think that if we were to put one in, it would be between Funtley and Knowle.
‘However, during our discussions with Network Rail, they have said that there are not enough people in that area to utilise a stop there.
‘So, for the time being, until Welborne gets off the ground and we get people living in the town, it will be left as a possibility.’
A map at the exhibition showed that the developers had left a small patch of land between the two villages as a designated spot for the stop should plans move ahead to make it a reality.
Councillor Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council said that he had been holding discussions with the rail company himself and was due to have another meeting next week.
He said: ‘This is something I have keenly been pushing for over the years.
‘It’s been a big aspiration of mine to have a stop there and Network Rail seem very keen to talk about the possibility of bringing it forward.
‘It would make a great deal of sense to have a stop there.
‘We have not had a new railway stop in this part of Hampshire for 25 years with Hedge End the last to open.
‘We are very much overdue a new stop here.’
The public exhibition was held in Ferneham Hall on Wednesday, and the developers unveiled their latest designs for the town.
Mr Thistlethwayte added that an outline planning application for the development would be submitted to the borough council early in the new year, with January the most likely date.