A transport hub is to be built next to Moreton-in-Marsh station after Great Western Railway (GWR) and Moreton-in-Marsh Town Council jointly purchased the town’s disused Royal British Legion Club.
The deal will also pave the way for the provision of 50 new car parking spaces and 50 cycle parking spaces, to help meet demand from rail passengers, shoppers and visitors to the town.
A change in rail industry regulations last year has allowed GWR to become a partner in the land purchase. The deal is the first of its kind for the company.
The town council has taken out a loan from the Public Works Loan Board of £562,500, to be repaid over 35 years, after the proposal got strong support from residents in a consultation carried out last year.
GWR’s business development director Tom Pierpoint, who has spearheaded efforts to increase car parking provision at the station and worked with the town council to push through the acquisition of the RBL site, said: “Purchasing the land with the Town Council means that we can now work with them and with Cotswold District Council and Gloucestershire County Council to develop integrated travel solutions.
“We are committed to this area. We want to see Moreton-in-Marsh thrive and you cannot get more rooted in the community than by buying land here.”
Eileen Viviani, the chair of the town council, said: "We’re delighted to see this investment in Moreton. It’s an important step forward in our long-term plan to reduce congestion and improve our High Street for residents and visitors alike.”
Plans are in place to transform the site in phases, starting with the car and bike parking areas, to create an integrated transport hub and boost use of public transport in the North Cotswolds and South Warwickshire for local and long-distance journeys.
Nigel Moor, who is the town’s county councillor and cabinet member for environment and planning at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “The county council is a keen supporter of the North Cotswolds Line Task Force, who have ambitious plans to improve rail services for Moreton and the whole of the Cotswold Line.
“This investment supports those plans and it’s great to see Moreton at the forefront of improvements, particularly those that support reductions in carbon. We’re delighted to be part of the group now working to take forward plans for the site and I congratulate the Town Council and GWR on making this important first step.”
The station is currently served by four bus routes:
- Pulhams 801 to Stow-on-the-Wold, Bourton-on-the-Water, Northleach and Cheltenham
- Pulhams 51 to Stratford-upon-Avon, via Shipston-on-Stour
- Johnsons Excelbus routes 1 and 2 to Stratford-upon-Avon: Route 1 journeys run via Blockley, Broadway, Willersey and Chipping Campden; Route 2 journeys run direct between Blockley and Chipping Campden, via Draycott and Broad Campden.
The Moreton-in-Marsh Royal British Legion Club closed in 2008 and the building has stood empty since then. Its car park was last used as an overflow area for commuters driving from the Vale of Evesham to Moreton to catch trains to Oxford and London while the Cotswold Line was closed west of Moreton in the summer of 2011, for the completion of the project to reinstate double track to Evesham.