On Wednesday 16th December 2020, Jonathan Gullis, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, Kidsgrove and Talke, presented a petition, alongside an e-petition with over 1000 signatures in the House of Commons. Jonathan then also presented the petition to the Secretary of State for Transport and Chris Eaton-Harris as Minister of State for Transport.
This petition aims to improve rail infrastructure and provide better rail services in the city and wider North Staffordshire. This would include opening the line between Stoke-Leek. The re-opening would create jobs and unlock the potential of unused brownfield sites in the area, it would also greatly benefit commuters and passengers.
This petition came about after North Staffordshire MP’s lobbied the Government to award us funding to explore the case for reopening the Stoke-Leek line to passenger services for the first time since the 1950s. The Government recently recognised that there is indeed a case to look at reopening the Stoke-Leek line, however, it was important to understand how local people feel about the chance of securing significant local rail investment from the national fund, and what impact they feel a reopened local rail line would have and the opportunities it might bring for the local community.
With over 1000 constituents expressing the demand for the Stoke-Leek line to re-open this will now be presented to the Government to use within their review.
Karen Bradley, MP for Staffordshire Moorlands, said “I am so pleased to see the level of support for reinstating the Leek to Stoke railway line. Working with the other MPs in North Staffordshire and the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, we will do all we can to convince the Department for Transport of the merits of this bid.”
Jack Brereton, MP for Stoke South also said “the reopening of the Stoke-Leek rail line with a station at Fenton Manor would be a great boost to our local transport, making it easier for people to get around and reducing pressure on our congested roads.
Projects like this are exactly why I got into politics, and I will continue to push the Government to match their promises of levelling-up our country and ensuring we get our fair share of investment in Stoke-on-Trent.”
Jo Gideon, MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central said “I am delighted by the level of public support for reopening the Stoke-Leek line. The Government is investing millions of pounds in Stoke station, and reopening the Stoke-Leek line to passenger use would connect many more local residents to it. The new Stoke interchange will show how better trains mean better buses, too. We are determined to level up public transport in Stoke-on-Trent - it is vital that we maintain community involvement and respond to the demand for better services.”
Jonathan said “Stoke-on-Trent needs better public transport. Thirty per cent of local households are without a car, and many of those who do have a car have no alternative – so congestion just gets worse, and we are not able to enjoy all the benefits of the city’s economic growth.
“The Stoke-Leek line was closed when Stoke-on-Trent was in decline. But we are no longer in decline – Stoke is on the up, and local people rightly want to share in the success with better trains and buses, and reduced congestion for everyone. We need to discuss carefully how we get the line back open, and where the best places for stations would be to serve today’s city.
“It’s great to see so much community interest - working together we can get this right.
“There is a national fund of Government money available for local rail restoration projects, and we deserve to win our share of it. Reopening the Stoke-Leek line would complement the multi-million pound investment already pledged for bus and rail improvements in Stoke-on-Trent, and spread the benefits further across the city.”