A campaign hoping to pave the way for a controversial tram-route to Kimberley, Eastwood and Giltbrook is gathering pace.
KENTAG — the Kimberley, Eastwood and Nuthall Tram Action Group — is optimistic it will have got together £70,000 needed to carry out a feasibility study this year.
The bid has also received backing from high-profile councillors and a Government planning inspector, while some community activists are against the bid.
Cllr Andy Cooper, who represents Kimberley on Broxtowe Borough Council, told the Advertiser: “There are companies interested in putting forward the cash so that we can properly explore the option of extending the network to Kimberley, Eastwood, Nuthall and Giltbrook and Amber Valley too. The study will look at what is required to get the extension up and running.”
A line to Kimberley was first considered back in 2001 but was discounted over its viability. But things have changed considerably since.
Other areas are also bidding for a tram extension, but Cllr Cooper is confident that with KENTAG already established in Eastwood and Kimberley it has the edge over its rivals.
He explained: “I think there about 15 other areas of Nottingham that want an extension.
but we are the only action group that is up and running.
“We’re well established, have had good media coverage, people out there know we exist and we are taking pro-active steps to make this happen.”
A proposed route has already been drawn up and would see the tram lines go from Phoenix Park to Kimberley following the route of old railway tracks.
Cllr Cooper said: “The extension out to Kimberley is straight forward and the main benefit of it following an old route is that it will mean minimum disruption.
“There will be no digging up roads, no impact on businesses and no compulsory purchases to make it happen.
“After the line gets to Kimberley it gets a bit more complicated but that is something the feasibility study will look into in detail and will allow us to see the possibilities and options available.”
Cllr Richard Robinson, of Notts County Council, who is also involved in the project, said: “This is potentially one of the most exciting projects and campaigns I have ever worked on.
“There’s lots of discussions taking place as to what happens after Kimberley, how it would link up to the retail park at Giltbrook, and then how exactly it would link up with Eastwood, and then into Langley Mill.
“Hopefully the map gives an indication for now until a more detailed proposal can be drawn up.”
The Kimberley Residents’ Association have questioned on several occasions, through the pages of the Advertiser and in public, the benefits of a tram to the town.
It says a route extension would cause disruption and there is no evidence it would benefit local shops. Some business are in favour and others are aganist.
But Cllr Cooper said: “For a while I think a lot of people thought this was a pie in the sky idea but now it actually getting off the ground.
“People might start speaking out against it now but here are so many advantages for the line extension.
“One of the tings we always hear about is congestion, this would mean cars off the road.
“Whether we like it or not there is going to be more development and housing over the next ten-to-15 years meaning even more cars, this should help reduce that.”