THE fight to reopen the old Stonehouse railway station which closed in the 1960s has taken a step forward.

Rail minister Huw Merriman has confirmed he will visit the area soon to discuss the business case for reopening the station - which would be on the Bristol to Birmingham line - after MP Siobhan Baillie raised the matter in Parliament . 

Speaking in parliament, Ms Baillie said: "This is a 25-year dream of my constituents.

"I grasped it, and we managed to get investment from government to do a proper feasibility study. 

"I am waiting for the minister and government to give us information about the next stage for the outline business case.

"I am pleased the minister was so quick to offer to visit so he can see the ambition and drive, myself, local people and the council have to see this station back open."

In reply, Mr Merriman said: “I will visit my honourable friend in Stonehouse. 

“She and the town council have done a great job, and when I visit, we will look at the business case, because there has been work inside the department.”

Stonehouse mayor Carol Kambites said: "The long-campaign for the reopening of the station would be of real win-win for Stonehouse and the Stroud Valleys.

"It would provide a much-needed public transport link to Bristol and the south west for work, education and leisure, improving quality of life and boosting the local economy, whilst reducing road congestion and carbon emissions. "

The project - backed by Stonehouse Town Council and Stroud District Council - was given £50,000 from the Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund for a feasibility study with a decision on whether the station would receive government funding due before Christmas.

A Stroud District Council spokesperson said: "The station would cut carbon emissions, support local employment opportunities, reduce car dependency, rat running on country lanes and parking pressures at Cam and Dursley station, and boost access to education, leisure and retail opportunities."

Tony Davey, chair of Stroud Chamber of Trade, said: "The reopening of a station on the Gloucester-Bristol line in Stonehouse, with the necessary accompanying infrastructure, would bring many opportunities, boost our local economy and help support many within our communities who enjoy to living here but need to travel too."