The decision makers
Key stakeholders, the decision makers
For this proposal to make it to reality, it's essential we make good contact with our stakeholders, and the organisations in charge. In Northamptonshire and across the UK, there are countless numbers of stakeholders regarding things like this, rail campaigns. In the case of Northamptonshire, and most other areas outside devolved administrations or combined authorities, the main key stakeholders are...
A fundamental reason for Network Rail being on this list is the organisation’s power. DfT and ORR manage the regulation of rail mainly, such as franchises and the law. However, Network Rail, mainly in partnership with DfT, can support campaigns like this. It makes contacting Network Rail one of the best things we could do.
National Government and DfT
The New Stations Fund is a government and Network Rail initiative which aims to open new stations to connect closed off communities. This does require the county and district council to help us apply, and possibly with funding to help us apply for, well, the funding. New Stations Fund isn’t the only funding option available to us. During Budget 2021, the “Levelling Up Fund” was announced. Local authorities can apply for funding from the Treasury to carry out work such as feasibility studies for transport projects.
South East Midlands LEP and EEH
SEMLEP are the Local Enterprise Partnership for South East Midlands. They sometimes fund local infrastructure and housing projects and might be able to benefit ours too. EEH are the sub-national transport body for the South Midlands area, including Northamptonshire. They advise local authorities and national Government as to how all types of transport in the area can be improved and develop and deliver a transport strategy for the entire region.
The county council
A big stakeholder
A very key stakeholder is the local authority. Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy situation at this time, as Northamptonshire are going through big local authority revamps, but I’ll try my best to explain.
Northamptonshire County Council
Northamptonshire County Council play a vital role in this project. They are our connection to the Government and Department for Transport. They approve what we have suggested to them and they help us fill out the application forms to communicate with Network Rail. They sometimes even launch feasibility studies for this sort of thing
They even help us request funding. Without the County Council’s support, this whole project is for nothing, and will never get anywhere. The only communication I have had so far with the NCC is an FOI request, and a phone call, of which I got hung up on.
An important publication
The rail strategy
Northamptonshire County Council published the last Northamptonshire Rail Strategy in 2013. If this document were updated, it could give us a better look into what the county is doing in terms of rail. However, I am going to use this document anyway to explain a bit about what their thoughts were 7 years ago.
They were thinking about many improvements to existing stations, according to their document, but the info that I had interest in the most was the following: ‘We will examine in more details proposals for stations at the following locations: A new station at Blisworth or Weedon on the West Coast Main Line, station sites south of Northampton on the Northampton Loop, new stations at Desborough and Irchester on the Midland Mainline.’
This was great to hear, then I remembered that was 7 years ago and none of that has been completed. I created an FOI request to the DfT to get a follow-up on this document with the following reply: ‘The Department for Transport (DfT) has not undertaken any development work on proposals for a station in either of these locations.’
At least this document reassured us that if we do make a proposal for a station at Weedon to serve us and the surrounding villages, and of course, Daventry, it is more likely for the county council to approve funding and make it happen. The new West Northamptonshire Council, mentioned on the next page, will hopefully update this strategy in the coming weeks and months.
More detailed information regarding our key stakeholders can be found in our whitepaper