We’ve got a GRIP! . . . .
I am pleased to announce that our main planned objective for 2015/16, the commissioning of a ‘GRIP stages 1 and 2 Study’ into the possibility of a ‘walkway’ railway station for Magor and Undy, is now underway. We were able to progress this because Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) agreed to underwrite the cost but suddenly, in December, Welsh Government also provided the full funding! Consequently, following a meeting between Network Rail, MCC, the MAGOR group and Mott MacDonald (the only company who had provided the quote for the work,) a ‘collaborative approach’ was agreed and the order was raised. Mott MacDonald has now started the work.
The GRIP reports (Guide to Rail Investment Process) will be produced over the next 2 months. These 2 reports between them define the needs, opportunity and requirements and then, in the second report, defines the scope of the investment – identifying constraints, confirming that the outputs can be economically delivered and that they align with network strategy – i.e. potential solutions.
Assuming that the reports are favourable our objective for 2016/17 will be to commission a GRIP 3 study. This would look at the options identified in the GRIP 2 report, address the constraints identified and then develops the most appropriate option into a single solution with confirmed economic viability. Once done, we would be in a position to seek ‘approval in principal’. But that and another 5 GRIP stages is for the future!
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Our regular monthly meeting in January was well attended. Mr Steve Richards of the RMT union (who recently affiliated to the MAGOR group) attended and reaffirmed RMT’s support for our aims. Mr Sam Knight and Mr Murray Ross, local residents, also came along and participated in discussions. Another resident, Mr Peter Blackaby, attended but whilst agreeing that in principle a station for Magor and Undy was, on the face of it a good idea, he was extremely concerned that it (as a walkway station) would introduce a major parking problem. It was explained that the group had always understood that this could be an issue but firmly believed that with the right traffic management, the encouraged use of an improved Severn Tunnel Junction for those wishing to drive to a station and a ‘change of culture’ the potential problem could be avoided. However the GRIP process would identify such matters as constraints and address them accordingly. Mr Steve Richards suggested that MAGOR group look at Pye Corner station to see how a similar situation was managed.
Finally the MAGOR group has been exploring, with other parties, MCC’s wish to transfer the 3 Fields Site lease to a community-led ‘consortium’. The community council is considering whether it wants to be part of such an association and as yet is still undecided. MAGOR is very keen that a (long overdue) community centre is developed on the site but is also keen that any station built nearby benefits the centre and vice versa and therefore feel it necessary to be part of such a group. Further information on this will be posted in due course.
MAGOR group would like to thank all people and parties mentioned in this and earlier postings for the help, advice and support in making 2015 such a positive and successful year.
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