WHILE the fight to reopen the old Stonehouse railway station which closed in the 1960s has taken a step forward, a local politician is asking why it is taking so long. 

Rail minister Huw Merriman recently 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. 

The project - backed by Stonehouse Town 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.

However, Pete Kennedy, Green party candidate for the Stroud constituency, is asking why it is taking so long. 

He said: “Far from ‘full steam ahead’, this seems like more dither and delay from the Conservative government.

"The decision about reopening Bristol Road station was supposed to be made by the end of last year.

"Now, the only commitment from the Minister to Ms Baillie in Parliament is that ‘when I visit we will look at the business case, because there has been work inside the department.’

"This doesn’t sound like a positive decision is coming any time soon. 

“Ms Baillie has already met with a Transport Minister about this, and the Transport Secretary visited the constituency only a few months ago.

"Stonehouse and Stroud don’t need more meetings and visits, we need a decision on the funding bid so that the station can be reopened as soon as possible. 

"Reopening the station will transform our local area, reduce traffic, and give people new opportunities to work in and around Bristol.

"It’s such an obviously good idea - so why is it taking so long?”

Dr Simon Opher, Labour candidate for the Stroud constituency, also stressed that politicians of every colour had been working on this project for 25 years. 

He said: "This sounds like a really positive development, and one that I have campaigned for. 

"The real star here is Theresa Watts and the Stonehouse Town Council who have worked for years with David Drew in trying to make this become a reality.

"Politicians of every colour have been working on this project for 25 years. 

"My feeling is that Stroudwater would be wonderful for the residents of Stroud, Stonehouse and Great Oldbury, allowing residents to travel both north and south to Bristol or Birmingham for work or for leisure activities.

"Coupled with new cycle tracks, it would also help Stroud reach net zero.

"It's a dream we all share, but we are still a long way away.

"I really hope this rail minister can help us."