Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen and the combined authority cabinet has agreed £8m to kick-start work for a second access point for Eaglescliffe railway station.
Eaglescliffe is a key station for connectivity from Tees Valley to both local and national destinations, with a half-hourly service between Darlington and Saltburn plus Grand Central’s route to London, which will begin running six times daily later this year.
The project would create a new western access to the station at land adjacent to Durham Lane Industrial Estate, including a car park made up of around 120 spaces and a fully accessible pedestrian footbridge.
Mayor Houchen said: “Grand Central has shown its support for the station, with increased services to the capital and some major ongoing building work to make it better than ever.
“But currently, if you’re at Durham Lane, it’s a ten-minute drive to the station – and if you’re taking the train it’s unlikely that you want to use a car to get there. That seems absurd for a station that backs right on to an area where thousands of local people live and work, and which is home to some of our biggest businesses, such as Nifco.
“Direct access will not only make it easier for local people to get around Tees Valley and to London, it will unlock vital capital connectivity for our businesses and to investors looking to locate to our region.”
Stockton South MP Matt Vickers said: “This announcement represents a big win for the patch and something that I have been campaigning on for quite some time now.
“Improved access will really enhance passenger experience, the potential to ease congestion in Eaglescliffe, make the site accessible for disabled users and connect our global business park directly with other major cities. This investment will make everyday life better for local people and unlock connectivity for local businesses too.”
More than £500,000 was previously approved to develop the business case, with the first design phase set to be completed in the spring.
The commitment comes after Stockton Council’s cabinet approved the purchase of a 26-hectare site on Durham Lane Industrial Estate “critical” for employment, to secure its future as a place for business.
Councillor Bob Cook, leader of the local authority, said: “This prime industrial site is already an ideal location for businesses and providing it with direct access to Eaglescliffe station, with its connection to London, will only enhance its chances of attracting new businesses to set up home there.
“We already have big industrial leaders like Nifco and Tata Global Beverages on the Durham Lane site and we continue to see plenty more businesses wanting to come to Stockton-on-Tees. I am excited to see what the future holds.”
The land purchase, which would be paid for with money from the combined authority’s Indigenous Growth Fund, is subject to approval by full council this month (February).