Assembly drops Abertillery rail station plan

South Wales Argus: NOT A PRIORITY: Transport minister Carl Sargeant NOT A PRIORITY: Transport minister Carl Sargeant

A NEW railway station at Abertillery will not be considered until at least 2015, the transport minister has confirmed.

In a letter to South Wales East AM Mohammad Asghar, Carl Sargeant said the matter is not a priority for delivery within the next three years.

Blaenau Gwent council are involved in a multi-million pound regeneration of the town and it had hoped a new station on the Ebbw Valley Line would further enhance its ability to attract jobs and further investment to the area.

Back in October 2010, transport consultant Capita Symonds recommended that a new station be built in Abertillery, with a new hourly service introduced between the town and Cardiff.

Members of the South East Wales Transport Alliance approved this, with negotiations taking place with Tesco to buy land that would also fit 80 car parking spaces.

However, the final decision rested with the Welsh Government and all went quiet on the issue.

South Wales East AM Mohammad Asghar wrote to transport minister Carl Sargeant recently asking for an update on the situation.

Mr Sargeant replied this week, saying: "The Welsh Government published its prioritised National Transport Plan last December, which details the Welsh Government’s core funding priorities for transport until 2015.

"As a new station at Abertillery was not included in the original National Transport Plan, it was therefore not prioritised for delivery in the period to 2015."

Mr Asghar said he is disappointed, saying it shows a "lack of ambition for rail services in south east Wales".

Leader of Blaenau Gwent council Hedley McCarthy said: "I understand money is tight and while we weren’t really expecting anything sooner than this, we are anxious as a council to keep the aspiration alive."

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