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Brand new Preston Rail Station draws closer as planning application submitted and ownership deals decided

Work on the long-awaited Cottam Parkway shutdown will begin next year if the project is given the green light. It is estimated that the station would then take around 18 months to build, meaning it could be open before the end of 2024.

Passengers using the new pick-up point – on land west of Lea Road and east of Sidgreaves Lane – would enjoy journey times of just five minutes into Preston city centre, or could be at Blackpool in 20 mins.

The hope is that the £24m scheme will reduce traffic congestion in both locations, with the business case for South Fylde line station estimating that around 500,000 journeys a year would start or end there- down.

The planned Cottam Parkway station will have a passenger waiting area and 250 parking spaces (Image: Lancashire County Council)

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New Cottam Parkway station could help ease congestion in Preston

The plans were lodged with Lancashire County Council just weeks after the authority – which is itself leading the development – decided it would hand over the facility to Network Rail once it is finished.

Cabinet members approved the move last month after being persuaded it was not worth County Hall retaining control of the station as it would not be able to generate revenue from the 250 car park. places on the site – because it would be free for travelers. .

Cottam Parkway would have a catchment area of ​​around 12,000 households across Cottam, Ingol and Lea. The population of North West Preston is growing rapidly, with around 6,000 new homes expected to be built in the area over the two decades to the mid-2030s.

The railway line crossing Lea Road, which once had its own station – until 1938

Transport bosses hope that – if eventually approved – the facility will spur a shift to sustainable travel, with the station set to be served by a new bus stop, as well as improved cycling infrastructure and footpaths on the approach . The relay car park will also be equipped with electric charging stations.

The station – located near a long-time stop on Lea Road, which closed in 1938 – would link to the new Preston Western Distributor Road. This road – linking Riversway to a new junction on the M55 at Bartle – is due to open next year.

Cottam Parkway is also expected to provide an alternative option for suburban dwellers traveling elsewhere in the North West by train – meaning they no longer have to travel to the heart of the city and to park before boarding a service from the main station.

County Cllr Charlie Edwards, cabinet member for highways and transport at Lancashire County Council, said the planning application was “a major step forward in the delivery of this new station, which will open up new opportunities for people and will be a gateway to other parts of the region”.

Cllr David Borrow hopes the new station will reduce congestion on the roads

He added: “We have made significant changes to the design since we announced the plans. We have added native scrub, trees and grassland rich in native species to a field near the station to give a boost. overall thumb to the biodiversity of this program and help wildlife, which will also result in a 10% net biodiversity gain for the project.

“We are already in discussions with the Department of Transport and rail operators to get as many services as possible serving the station,” explained County Cllr Edwards.

It is proposed that there will be new planting south of the railway line between Ashton and Lea Golf Course and the bridge at Darkinson Lane and the railway chalets. The station building itself will feature a ‘green’ roof – to encourage wildlife – and solar panels to help power it.

Preston City Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Regulation, David Borrow, welcomed the news that a planning application had now been submitted for what he described as ‘much needed infrastructure’.

Cottam Parkway will be built on the South Fylde line between Preston and Blackpool – seen here from Skeffington Road

“We believe plans to improve transport provision in Preston, with an emphasis on low carbon journeys and green travel, are key to helping our transport networks meet current and future needs. of our growing and developing communities, businesses and visitors.

“The plans provide the sustainable transport networks needed to support economic growth in Preston and outline essential and transformational ways to relieve congestion and pressure on the roads, as well as promote alternative means of transport.

“With our partners, we continue to explore all available opportunities to improve and develop Preston, including transport and connections in and around the city,” said Cllr Borrow.

Lancashire County Council’s independent, cross-party Development Review Committee of councilors will determine Cottam Parkway’s planning application.

The prospect of a station at the proposed location goes back about ten years. However, it was only after Lancashire clawed back £22.3million from the government’s Transforming Cities Fund more than two years ago that the concept began to emerge from the sidings. The Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City deal contributed an additional £2.1million.


County Cllr Charlie Edwards says Cottam Parkway station will be built with biodiversity in mind

Cottam Parkway will include:

*** A station building with ticket hall, passenger waiting area, toilets, staff room and technical room.

***Two single-sided platforms 210 meters long that can accommodate eight-car trains, with passenger waiting shelters.

*** A station walkway and associated stairs and lifts to provide platform-to-platform level access, as well as a secondary means of evacuation from the platforms.

***A surface car park with 250 spaces, including at least 38 charging stations for electric vehicles.

***The possibility of adding an additional 55 spaces at ground level or creating an additional 134 parking spaces by building a single-storey multi-storey.

***Bus stop bays in the central forecourt, next to the station building, to accommodate local bus services.

*** An access road crossing Sidgreaves Lane – where a new T-junction is proposed – and continuing east, parallel to the new station car park, ending at a turn-around area for pick-up and drop-off of the station.

*** A separate cycle path and footpath along a section of the existing Sidgreaves Way and over the Quaker Bridge, linking with the Preston Local Cycle Network on the Preston Western Distributor Road and along Darkinson Lane.

Source: Lancashire County Council


Lancashire County Council will transfer full ownership of the new Cottam Parkway station to Network Rail once it is built.

The authority concluded that handing over control of the facility to the organization responsible for operating the railways was the lowest risk of the three options presented to cabinet members last month.

Mirroring the arrangements made at Euxton Balshaw Lane and Buckshaw Parkway stations in Chorley, the move means that operating and maintenance costs are covered by the rail industry through the additional revenue generated by the new stop. This will include staffing, parking, reactive and routine maintenance, landscaping and infrastructure renewal.

County Hall will have no continuing responsibility for the station, but parking fee restrictions may be reflected in the deed. However, the authority loses control over the operation of a state-funded asset – with no say in other decisions such as ticketing hours.

Nonetheless, highways and transport cabinet member Charlie Edwards told a meeting where the principle of the transfer was agreed that it was ultimately the “most beneficial” configuration.

“We have agreed that the station car park will be free – it will be a walk station – therefore there will be no revenue stream or business benefit for the council if we own a car park like this,” said he added.

Cabinet members were told that the introduction of station parking charges would discourage the kind of sustainable travel the county council was seeking to promote.

Two other options for the operation of Cottam Parkway were considered but rejected. The first—retaining full ownership of the station and granting a lease for its use—would have ultimately left County Hall responsible for future maintenance and health and safety issues.

The second – that Lancashire County Council would retain ownership of the car park and access road, with the platforms and station building transferred to Network Rail – could have been ‘problematic’ because of the resulting co-ownership , the cabinet members said.

John Smith

The author John Smith