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Sir Peter Luff hails Worcestershire Parkway breakthrough
A WORCESTERSHIRE MP has hailed the news that a new railway station is finally heading to the county - declaring victory after 25 years of campaigning.
Sir Peter Luff, who was first elected to parliament in 1992, says he's been lobbying for Worcestershire Parkway to be built at Norton before he even became a politician.
The veteran Conservative, who represents Mid-Worcestershire, the constituency where the new station will be based, says seeing it come to fruition will be a fitting legacy once he retires next year at the general election.
As your Worcester News revealed on Tuesday, the Government has awarded Worcestershire a £47 million cash injection which includes £7.5 million for the parkway site.
Worcestershire County Council's leadership says a planning application will be submitted in the first half of next year, and is trying to take ownership of the land ahead of an opening target of the 2016/17 financial year.
The Government says it will hand over the £7.5 million for parkway in April 2016, with the Department for Transport planning talks with operators over using the site.
Mr Luff said: "I have been making the case for a Worcestershire Parkway station for my whole time as a Member of Parliament and before that as a candidate, so this news proves that persistence pays.
"Worcestershire County Council has also been working hard on making the case and pushing forward with the plans for this station, for which I thank them warmly.
"The station will revolutionise rail travel for local people by providing a hub to connect north and south services between Birmingham and Bristol, and east and west services between Worcester and Oxford and London. "Crucially it will have plenty of parking for people to leave their cars. "The money arrives just when it’s needed in mid-2016 when construction is likely to begin.
"There a few more obstacles to be overcome, but we are firmly on the downhill slope to success now and I could not be more delighted."
The £47 million Government cash has come from a national pot called the Growth Fund, which all 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships across the country were competing for.
Of that cash, £13 million is being handed over in 2015/16 and the rest will be drip fed across during the following four years.