A £2.5m bid to build a badly-needed railway station in Low Moor has been rejected by the Government but its supporters say it is not the end of the line.
Campaigners, who have already secured £5.5m towards the station, were confident of the bid and reacted with shock when it was not revealed as one of the four recipients of the Government’s £20m New Stations Fund.
It was one of 14 applications.
The funding would have been all that was needed to complete the detailed design and begin construction in December 2014.
But the bid, which focused on the project’s local benefits, including the number of expected passengers, did not meet the Department for Transport’s criteria, said Independent Low Moor ward councillor David Robinson.
“We were at the crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s stage, we thought this final push was a dead-cert,” he said.
“We’ve worked so hard over the past ten years. We kept modifying our business case and have overcome any obstacles that have cropped up. We have the land, most of the detailed plans drawn up and a large amount of the funding that was needed already. This outcome was totally unexpected. I’m extremely annoyed and angry.”
Metro Chairman Coun James Lewis said he was naturally disappointed with the decision but insisted Metro’s commitment and that of its partners, including rail operators, to the project still remained.
“Preparatory work by Metro and Bradford Council shows that a new station would generate significant local benefits,” he said.
“But the Department’s business case criteria for the New Station Fund cannot take this work into account.
“However it is because of those strategic local economic and social benefits, which local people have emphasised when we have been out to discuss the scheme with them, plus the improved access to train services into the Interchange and to Halifax and Manchester, that Metro and its partners remain committed to this key Bradford project.”
Metro has said it will now be looking for alternative funding sources. Coun Lewis added: “I hope that the many applications to the small £20m fund shows to the DfT and the Government that the desire to open or re-open rail stations to drive economic prosperity in the regions is great, and a larger fund should be made available in the future.”
James Vasey, from the Bradford Rail Users Group, said members were also “obviously disappointed” but would continue their work. He said: “The station at Low Moor will reduce congestion, improve journey times and provide a direct link on the improved railway being delivered on the Calderdale line as part of the Northern Hub development.”