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£50k to keep Leek - Stoke rail dream on track

Published on 1 November 2021

Plans to re-open the rail link between Leek and Stoke remain on track after the Chancellor announced £50,000 of funding to explore the options and develop the business case in this week's budget statement.

The application, led by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, was jointly developed with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and supported by Moorlands MP Karen Bradley and the MPs for Stoke-on-Trent South, Central and North Jack Brereton, Jo Gideon and Jonathan Gullis.

The money will fund an initial feasibility study, including the development of an outline business case, for reconnecting Leek to the national rail network at Stoke-on-Trent.

It will also enable options, such as opportunities to take freight off the roads, to be explored.

Councillor Sybil Ralphs, Leader of the District Council and long-time champion for the re-opening of the railway, said: "Seeing this rail line between Leek and Stoke reinstated, with all the benefits it will bring, is a cherished ambition of mine and something I have worked towards for many years now.

"Where rail lines exist prosperity follows, as they are often the catalyst for further investment, and that's why I am so delighted that we have secured this funding to develop the business case.

"It's simply not acceptable that a town the size of Leek doesn't have easy access to the rail network - it can take longer to get to Stoke railway station by public transport than it does to get to London from Stoke - which is a view I know is shared by residents and businesses. I'm sure they will be as thrilled as I am to see this project moving forward so we can really start to level up here in the Moorlands."