AN AMBITIOUS £7 million bid is being made to build a new Worcestershire railway station, it has emerged.
The county council wants to make the long-awaited dream of Worcestershire Parkway a reality - and is going cap-in-hand to the Government for the money.
Bosses are going to bid for a slice of a £20 million ‘New Stations Fund’ being made available for the country’s best bids.
County Hall chiefs say £7 million would pay for a station facility on land at Norton, near Worcester, a booking office, 500 parking spaces, toilets, cycle parking and a bus service ‘drop and collect’ service.
If successful, it would mean Worcestershire can tap into more direct services to London, the South West, South Wales, Birmingham and beyond.
Transport chiefs also say it would allow the county to access many long distance cross country trains currently bypassing Worcestershire.
That includes Birmingham and Bristol inter city services which currently do not stop in Worcestershire despite passing through it.
It would provide a platform on the Cotswold line, provision for two further platforms for the Birmingham to Bristol line, and potential for a second Cotswold line platform if it is redoubled in the future.
If the bid is accepted a planning application would be made in April 2014 and the new station would open by the summer of 2016.
Norton Parkway has been an aim for political leaders in Worcestershire for at least 30 years, but this bid will be the first time a formal attempt has been made to get funds for it.
Last August the vision for the station took a major step forward when the Department for Transport said there was a “positive financial and economic case.”
Councillor Simon Geraghty, deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and infrastructure, said: "The Government's fund presents an opportunity to bid for the funding needed to build the station and everything will be done to push the case for it.”
Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff, one of three county MPs to write a letter of support for the bid, said: “I am very strongly in favour of this - this really puts a marker down.
“The momentum behind this has grown to such an extent that Worcestershire Parkway will definitely happen, it’s just a question of when and not if.”
He said many commuters currently drive to Warwick Parkway and leave their cars overnight to head to Oxford or London because of a lack of parking at Foregate Street.
Worcester MP Robin Walker and West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin have also sent letters of support for the bid.
Mr Walker said: “We all want to see this happen, it would be fantastic.”