Gwent rail campaigners kept in dark about study
7:10am Friday 4th January 2013 in News
ANGRY Monmouthshire rail campaigners were unaware consultation was taking place on a key study which will shape the future of travel in the area.
Phil Inskip, who sits on Monmouthshire council’s joint rail working group, only stumbled across the news two days before the original deadline for public responses, December 14.
He was looking for papers for a board meeting on the South East Wales Transport Alliance (SEWTA) website when he discovered the consultation was going on and the working group knew nothing about it.
Among the Newport to Chepstow Rail Corridor Study’s recommendations are improving Severn Tunnel Junction and Chepstow stations, increasing frequency of trains and car parking.
Mark Youngman, leader of SEWTA’s rail group representing Monmouthshire and the man who commissioned the study, said he forgot to send out an email to interested parties about the consultation.
“I have held my hands up over it. It wasn’t deliberate that people haven’t been informed,” he said.
But chairman of the Severn Tunnel Action Group (STAG), David Flint, said it was not good enough.
He said: “The car parking areas they are talking about are where the flooded land was recently. As far as I knowthere is no financial estimate of work that will have to take place to deal with this.
There have been no leaflets or posters put up for regular travellers either.”
Severn Tunnel Junction has 154,000 passengers per year, around 460 each day.
Mr Youngman said two events are being planned to reveal more details about the study.
“We have arranged an extension of the consultation to January 18 so people can have their say,” he added.
Better Trains for Chepstow chairman Jim Jenkins said he and his fellow campaigners pressed for more time.
He said: “For us not to be told, it upset us.”
Four reports dated December 9 2011 make up the study at www.sewta.gov.uk/other-documents/ studies-etc.
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