PLANS will be unveiled next week to build the first new train station for decades on a well-used North East route.
The new station will benefit the people of Peterlee and surrounding areas of County Durham.
Durham County Council cabinet members will hear proposals for a new rail halt at Sea View South, Horden, Peterlee, to open on the Durham coast rail line within the next four years.
The station will be on the route between Newcastle and Hartlepool. Currently there are no stations between Seaham and Hartlepool.
A report by Ian Thompson, the county’s director of regeneration and economic development, will tell members that, despite the council having to make savings of £100m over the next four years, funding is in place for “feasibility, design and preparatory work”.
Seven sites in east Durham were looked at as potential locations for the new station, but Sea View South, next to an industrial estate, was the preferred option. Mr Thompson will say the availability of land next to the station has the potential to attract new businesses to the area. He will report that the estimated population within 5km of Sea View South was 54,000 with a potential of 90,000 journeys per year to and from the new station.
Mr Thompson said Network Rail, Northern Rail and the Department of Transport were all offering “good support” for the proposal. He said the council was also considering building a visitor attraction centre at the new station to encourage people to explore the Durham Heritage Coastline.
Initial estimates of the cost of the new station are in the region of £4m to £5m, added Mr Thompson.
At the cabinet meeting next Wednesday members will be requested to commission consultants to carry out further modelling, demand forecasting and design work. Joan Maslin, a Durham County councillor for Peterlee, said: “I think it is absolutely marvellous. We have been wanting a rail link for years now.
“People often complain to me that the buses don’t turn up. Being able to catch a train into Sunderland, Newcastle, or the Metrocentre is wonderful news. It cannot come soon enough.
“It is a piece of good news amidst all the doom and gloom.”