Council backs station improvements with funding bid

Matthew David died when he landed on the tracks at Highbridge Railway Station. Picture: Google

Matthew David died when he landed on the tracks at Highbridge Railway Station. Picture: Google - Credit: Google

Highbridge train station could receive a slew of enhancements if a bid for funding by Burnham Town Council is successful.

The council has applied for a £30,000 grant from Great Western Railway (GWR) which would be used to create ‘a more inviting, user-friendly, and comfortable experience for passengers.’

At a meeting on December 17, it was revealed the town council was working with Highbridge Chamber of Trade on the bid.

In September, councillor Peter Clayton and town clerk Tatiana Cant, met with representatives from GWR, Somerset County Council, and Severnside Community Rail Partnership to survey the station and discuss improvements and the impact rising demand from new housing developments could have on the station.

During the walkabout the team found several areas which could be included in the application including: replacement lighting columns, new signs, and a replacement bike shelter.

Cllr Clayton said: “It is clear there will be considerable growth in the near future due to increased local housing and potentially greater employment opportunities.

“The stations are important for commuters, local businesses and as destination stations - with onward travel to Burnham, Berrow, and Brean.

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“In order to support the economic development of the town it is important to improve public transport.”

Other improvements considered for the station down the line include improving transport links by installing a bus stop outside the station, improving car parking at the station by expanding facilities into the ‘green patch with limited amenity use’. Other ideas include requesting a ticket machine to replace the one which was vandalised and to reopen the disused building at the front of the station as a ticket office or café, plus apply for grants to improve disabled access.

Councillors admit these changes could cost £1-2million.

Cllr Clayton said Sedgemoor District Council is keen to help facilitate improvements and would enter into negotiations with the parties involved.

Councillor Phil Hartwell said: “Having Sedgemoor co-ordinate the meetings is useful. I hope the land behind the old Co-op can be developed as part of the improvements.”