Article submitted by Karen Bradley, Member of Parliament for the Staffordshire Moorlands:
As many of you know, I have been lobbying for the reopening of the Leek-Stoke railway line for a very long time. Following my recent visit to Stockton Brook with Cllr Sybil Ralphs and neighbouring MPs, to continue with the campaign, I was delighted to secure a debate in Parliament last week on this very important issue.
Together with the three MPs in the City, I have submitted a bid to the Department for Transport’s Restoring Your Railway Fund for money to see what is possible. The bid is led by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, supported by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, the LEP, Staffordshire County Council, the local Chambers of Commerce, the Peak District National Park, local businesses and the Churnet Valley Railway.
I spoke in the debate about how so many people come to visit the Staffordshire Moorlands but without a car, visiting is a real struggle. Our beautiful villages are totally overwhelmed with traffic, we have parking problems with cars blocking roads and there is no easy way for visitors or local people to get to and from the Moorlands.
This could be a fantastic clean, green alternative to roads and I was pleased to be able to highlight in Parliament the real demand there is for the reopening of the railway line, which was closed as a victim of the Beeching cuts, and the benefits that reopening the line could bring to so many people. I also know that there are concerns of those that live along the line and am therefore keen that we need to look at all the options carefully, which the funding would allow.
The Minister reassured us that she would make it her personal commitment to ensure that the Rail Minister is fully updated on the compelling case for the Leek-Stoke line, which she had heard “loud and clear”.