A PROJECT to deliver a new railway station for Wellington took two steps forward and one backwards this week as a full business case was submitted to Government.

Town councillors have agreed to plough money into ‘sexing up’ the area, but the opening date was put back by up to nine months.

Network Rail has sent the case for funding the station to the Department for Transport (DfT), which has said it will ‘fund to delivery’ the new station, estimated at £15 million.

Local MP Rebecca Pow said: “The project has so far received £5 million funding from the Government and I am delighted to have worked with the DfT to achieve this.

“Having championed the station since becoming the MP, I will of course keep up the pressure both locally and in Westminster to ensure the project progresses.

“The station will be a genuine game-changer for my constituents and our area more widely and I want to see it come to fruition at the earliest opportunity.”

Network Rail expects to submit a planning application for the station later this month, although further work will be subject to approval of the business case and DfT funding.

Town councillors who previously expected the station to open by the spring of next year were told on Monday it was now likely to be spring/summer 2026.

Town clerk Dave Farrow said although the opening had been put back, ‘all parties remain confident that it will happen’.

Councillors vowed to ensure people stepping off trains in Wellington would be greeted by an attractive-looking ‘welcome to the town’ area.

Mr Farrow said Network Rail only planned to deliver a ‘functional railway station and nothing more’ and earlier discussions around it being a focus for a mobility hub and a ‘gateway to Wellington’ had not come to fruition.

Mr Farrow said West of England Developments, which was to build housing and business units nearby to enable the station to be delivered, would construct basic infrastructure such as a ‘station square’, and councillors needed to decide if they wanted to pick up the remainder of the work to create a focal point for visitors, providing a pleasant, welcoming environment, cycle storage facilities, and bad weather cover.

Cllr Ross Henley said: “We need to make that station as nice as possible. Some of the stations I have visited over the years are beautiful.

“We need to take this project head on and take some ownership.”

Councillors agreed an earmarked budget of £22,500 rising to £30,000 next year shoud be used for items such as benches, bins, and signs for the ‘station square’.

They did not want people, some of whom would be visiting for the first time, stepping out of the station and into a ‘mundane and unattractive car park’.

Councillors said they wanted to visitors to have a fantastic ‘first impression’ by making the area look as smart as possible and agreed to set up a four-member working group to liaise with planning officers and the developer.