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Residents back plans for return of railway

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: November 22, 2013

Resident Derek Wetton takes a look at the plans

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PLANS to bring the railway back into Leek received a positive reaction when a threeday exhibition outlining the proposals went on public show.

Entitled 'Reconnect Leek Project', the scheme depends on Moorland & City Railways gaining planning permission to build around 89 homes on a nine-acre site at Leekbrook.

As reported in last week's Post & Times, if approved, the land would be sold and the money spent on bringing the railway line to Leek.

Heritage trains would bring in visitors to a newly-built station just outside Leek town centre, with mini-buses transporting passengers the rest of the way.

Another station is planned for Leekbrook.

Lifelong Leek resident, Graham Grindey, aged 70, visited the exhibition at the Foxlowe Arts Centre at the top of Market Place, Leek, at the weekend.

He said: “This would encourage people to visit Leek.

“It would then help businesses including the shops.

“It could also encourage people to stay in the town for a break.

“The proposals also present the opportunity to link existing and forthcoming tourist attractions.” Another Leek resident, David Samuel, also praised the proposals.

He said: “This seems to be a good idea to bring back a station to Leek. It should not have closed in the first place.

“More people would be attracted to the town which would help the economy “It is very rare to see a railway brought back into a town.”

After reading the story in last week’s Post & Times, Louise Rider, emailed: “After reading about the ‘Reconnect Leek Project’ I feel so excited that the train lines might be developed in the area.

“I drive to Newcastle-under-Lyme for work and spend a lot of time sitting in queues along with so many other people.

“I have often wished there was a train I could take to instead, either to Stoke or Etruria.

“It would mean a much more pleasant commute and take a lot of cars off the A53.” Director of Moorland & City Railways, David Kemp, said: “A lot of people visited the exhibition and the feedback has been very positive.

“Leek would become a rail connected town.

“Not many towns get reconnect to the railways, so this is a unique scheme.

“It would lead to an increase in visitors to the town. We are now looking at submitting an outline planning application for 89 homes at our nine-acre site at Leekbrook before Christmas.”

Managing director of Hulme Upright architects, David Morrey, said he was delighted to be involved with Moorland & City Railways for the railway infrastructure to be brought back to Leek.

He said: “The exhibition has been very positive with both the railway extension and the houses scheme.

“We have designed the houses with gardens and created courtyards, so it is like a village. We feel that space is important.

Also there is plenty of parking for owners vehicles.

“People have been very supportive. This seems a good idea to fund the railway back into Leek.”

If the planning application is approved Moorland & City Railways will form a new company for the Leek line. All the money from the land sale would go to construct the new railway and stations at Leekbrook and Leek.

Initial shareholdings would go to both Moorland & City Railways and Churnet Valley Railway, and also offered to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.

Shares would then be offered to the public.

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