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WALTHAM FOREST: Boost for bid to re-open station
A BID to reopen a railway station has received a major boost after transport bosses declared their support for the concept.
However, Transport for London (TfL) has demanded a more detailed business case for re-opening Lea Bridge station in Lea Bridge Road, Walthamstow.
Campaigners have long argued for the reopening of the station, which closed in 1985, claiming it could revitalise the area's economy and speed up journey times for commuters.
Waltham Forest Council has presented an outline case for a re-opened station, which states the station would attract housing developers to the run-down area.
Transport bosses said they supported more research into the move during recent City Hall meetings.
Network Rail last year proposed a new 15-minute service between Brimsdown, Tottenham Hale and Stratford, which would run through Lea Bridge.
Money pledged by the developers of Westfield shopping centre in Stratford as a condition of planning permission, known as a section 106, is financing work on the detailed business case.
Peter Woodrow, chairman of the Chingford Line Users Association (CLUA), said he was very optimistic following the latest developments.
He added: "I don't think TfL were ever against it but their position was that there was no cash available. Now we have the section 106 money that obstacle has been overcome.
"It's still not a done deal and it needs the backing of Network Rail, but I think at this stage it appears more likely to happen than not.""
A council strategy document stated the area around Lea Bridge station is one of several possible locations for 2,500 new homes.
Katy Andrews, of The New Lammas Lands Defence Committee, said the environmental group would not object to "reasonable" redevelopment in the area but would closely monitor any possible implications for nearby Leyton Marshes.
She said: "We're very pleased that the station may reopen but I don't agree you need more people to move there. If they start to try and build on [protected] Lammas Land there will be problems."
Council leader Chris Robbins described TfL's position as a " positive step forward"".
He added: "We’re convinced this is a viable proposition and will continue to work hard to convince the appropriate rail authorities to support the scheme.”
Walthamstow MP and former Lea Bridge ward councillor Stella Creasy, who is backing the campaign for the reopening of the station, said: "This is not just about the station but the potential for the area. But I think the issue is more to do with looking at the industrial estates and the housing stock that's already there before we start thinking about anything else."
Waltham Forest's London Assembly representative Jennette Arnold has also supported the campaign. She said: "This is a shining example of the strength of people power.
"I will be redoubling my efforts at City Hall to get us over the final hurdle- ensuring the business plan and funding package are delivered."
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