£500,000 to provide pedestrian access to railway station
PLANS are under way to create a new pedestrian access to Newton Abbot railway station from its neighbouring industrial estate.
Devon County Council has begun work on designing options for access to the busy mainline station from the Brunel Industrial Estate.
The authority is using part of a £500,000 funding boost to help make the dream a reality.
The county council has been able to embark on the project after it was successful in achieving funding from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund's Access to Stations scheme.
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The cash, from the Department for Transport, was secured in July and the total award includes schemes at Exmouth, Exeter Central and Totnes stations as well as Newton Abbot.
The full cost of the scheme at Newton Abbot is still to be determined and may be subject to further funding bids.
The council says the aim is to make it easier for people to travel to and from the area by train and avoid the need for the long detours around Torquay Road or the Quay Road tunnel, which takes people into the town centre.
The vision will also fit in well with in-the-pipeline plans for the new River Teign bridge and cycle route to Kingsteignton, currently under construction.
The ambitious project involves negotiations with Network Rail to ensure works can be undertaken without affecting the operation of the railway.
It comes after Network Rail spent £270,000 refurbishing the toilets on platform three and the waiting room.
County councillor Cllr Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "We will use the Access to Stations funding to design the scheme in full and we are working with Network Rail to agree the best way to approve the designs and construct the new access.
"Over the course of the next two years we aim to have approved designs for the scheme and undertake wider public consultation so that we have a ready to go scheme once we have all the funding in place.
"We are fortunate to have substantial local support for the scheme.
"In the meantime we are working with local groups, Teignbridge District Council, Network Rail, First Great Western and other parties to find further funding to make it happen."
A Network Rail spokesman said: "We are in discussions with Devon County Council on this matter. We will look at their proposal with interest."