And authorities win praise for response to flooding in Malmesbury and Aldbourne
Updated 4:31pm Thursday 15th May 2014 in By Anna Mauremootoo, Senior reporter for Marlborough and Pewsey
Prime Minister David Cameron gave assurances that the rail improvements in the south west were not being eclipsed by HS2 when he visited Chippenham today.
He was in Wiltshire to launch the Conservative’s poster campaign ahead of the European elections on May 22.
During his visit he would not promise that reopening the Corsham railway line was a priority for the Government but did say it was being considered.
He said: “It’s something I can promise that the Government is looking at.
“The massive £4billion electrification of the west coast line is testament to fact that we really believe in building up Britain’s railways and improving capacity and speed and, where possible, open new lines so we are looking at it carefully and if it is something we can support we certainly will.”
The town’s station was closed in 1967 and local residents and councillors have been working to get it reopened for more than 30 years.
On a recent visit to Wiltshire, the Government’s rail minister, Stephen Hammond, said the station could be up and running within seven years but Mr Cameron would not say whether this was a realistic target.
He said: “The electrification opens up possibilities that simply weren’t possible in the past.
"A point to make here in Wiltshire is that I know some people worry that all the money is going into HS2, well it isn’t.
“We are going to be spending three times as much on road and rail schemes including schemes here in the south west.”
While in Chippenham, he also praised local authorities for their response to the recent floods which, in Wiltshire, particularly affected Malmesbury and Aldbourne.
He said: “Once again some small local authorities proved that they are very capable of dealing with difficult situations.
“It was very important for local authorities to know that, in dealing with the crisis, money wasn’t an object.
“We are looking at more money going into flood prevention but after each flood episode you need to look at which rivers flooded, where they flooded, what costal problems there were and whether our plans need changing.”
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