Leader confident Hucknall and Bulwell rail route extension plans will be delivered

Plans to extend the Robin Hood Line – which serves Hucknall and Bulwell – will be delivered as promised, the leader of Nottinghamshire Council has said.

Friday, 26th November 2021, 10:58 am

Coun Ben Bradley MP (Con) was speaking at a full council meeting and responding to concerns raised by worried Labour and Ashfield Independent councillors that plans to extend the Robin Hood Line and re-open the Maid Marian Line might not go ahead after all following last week’s Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) announcement by the Government.

In the published IRP, there was not a firm commitment from the Government that both projects will be funded.

The IRP report states the Government will explore proposals for both lines in the hope of linking them to Toton and East Midlands Parkway.

Council leader Ben Bradley is confident the Government will make good on funding and delivering plans for the Robin Hood and Maid Marian Lines

The document said: “We will look to exploit any linkages with other investment in Nottinghamshire, including integrating plans for Toton and proposals for reopening and extending the Maid Marian and the Robin Hood lines.”

Coun Bradley said: “Those IRP projects were named in the document, the Maid Marian Line and the Robin Hood Line, and Michael Gove (levelling up, housing and communities secretary) has given assurances that projects named will be funded and delivered.

“The Treasury has an envelope of funding it gives to the IRP and we will be pushing to make sure they are funded.

“It’s worth saying that, outside Nottinghamshire, there were very few projects named in that document, and that’s not a coincidence.”

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Mr Bradley was responding after councillors called for him to ‘personally guarantee’ funding for both projects would be forthcoming after being worried by the Government’s words during last week’s IRP announcement by Grant Schapps, the transport secretary.

When he was asked in the Commons by Coun Bradley, about the two Nottinghamshire lines, he said “He is right to say that those two lines get a mention, there is much more work to do, of course, to bring them to life.”

If the plans went ahead, the Maid Marian Line would reopen to passengers for the first time since its closure during the 1960s and would eventually connect to the new proposed station at Toton, as well as connecting to the Robin Hood Line, which would be extended to Ollerton and Edwinstowe.

Coun Mike Pringle (Lab), who represents Ollerton, said: “The fact last week’s IRP announcement did not guarantee the funding for local rail projects, namely the Maid Marian Line and Robin Hood Line, is deeply concerning to me.

“My residents in Ollerton need that connectivity, and frankly after years of under-investment, we deserve it.

“I’m going to be like a dog with a bone on this, that infrastructure is absolutely essential to achieving the council’s 10-year vision and to growing our local economy.”

Coun David Martin (Ash Ind), who represents Selston, added: “The benefits for the whole of Nottinghamshire would be huge and we need certainty it will go ahead.

"It’s barely mentioned in the IRP, but all our MPs are saying it is.

“All we’re asking for is support and clarity on its direction.”

The Department for Transport has been contacted for clarification.