20 train stations on track for cash boost
MILLIONS of pounds of taxpayers' cash could be spent sprucing up train stations and neighbouring roads – to help persuade more businesses to invest in the county.
Staffordshire County Council is launching a county-wide review of all 20 train stations before drawing up plans to revamp platforms, tidy up stations and improve the appearance of areas outside them.
It wants to create a better first impression for visiting businesses and tourists, as well as tidying up and improving the 'quality' of key residential streets.
Funding has not been set aside for the 'building a beautiful Staffordshire' project. But it is likely to see resources diverted from other schemes and new planning guidelines put in place to improve the county's appearance.
Dyson DC50i - Bagless upright vacuum cleaner - BALL Technology -...View details
Thisi is Dyson's smallest upright vacuum cleaner with the performance of a full size upright machine. The DC50i has Dyson's most advanced cleaner head technology and 2 Tier RadialTM cyclones.
Terms: LIMITED STOCK OFFER. FREE delivery to most UK postcodes - Next working day dispatch.
Contact: 01664 491439
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
Councillor Ian Parry, the authority's cabinet member for finance, said: "People may wonder why, during a period of austerity, we are investing in beautification.
"If you want to be Madison Avenue, you've got to look Madison Avenue. If we want to be a successful county, we've got to look like a successful county."
Train stations in Kidsgrove, Blythe Bridge, Stafford and Stone could be in line for improvements.
It follows Stoke-on-Trent City Council's decision to go ahead with a scaled-back £693,000 plan to improve the area outside Stoke station.
The council will work with Network Rail and district and borough councils to support improvements and develop existing plans.
Councillor Robbie Marshall, cabinet member for public health and community safety, said: "We shouldn't underestimate the impact of a nice clean railway station on people's views of the county.
"You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
"There are a lot of potential investors who travel by train, and if they come into a spic and span railway station without paint flaking off the wall and litter on the ground, it can make a real difference."
Council leader Philip Atkins said: "There is a real opportunity for people to influence the design and impact of schemes in their community.
"If we can get every penny spent properly, we can really influence the wow factor."
Selwyn Brown, pictured below, chairman of North Staffordshire transport group Aces, welcomed the move but said the efficiency of trains is most important.
He said: "What people find when they leave stations and get outside is important.
"The people who use Blythe Bridge station generally seem to be quite happy with it and there do not seem to be any complaints about Kidsgrove.
"The issues seem to be mainly at bigger stations. You can't knock them down and start again, but something does need to be done.
"The train service is the most important thing, as we are seeing with London Midland.
"It is really the trains rather than the stations that need to be looked at."
Rail passengers in Kidsgrove are already campaigning for a disabled-friendly bridge to replace the existing footbridge which has steep steps.