Tram link is ‘key’ to regenerate area

Trams should run to Eastwood and Kimberley, a leading Nottingham city councillor has said.

Portfolio holder for jobs and growth Nick McDonald said the case for a tram to our area was ‘key’ for economic growth and planning ‘must start now’.

Andy Cooper, the head of a campaign group fighting for the tram, said knowing Cllr McDonald was behind the group was ‘fantastic news’.

“I am pleased he is on board. He is all for the extension up to Kimberley and beyond and it’s fantastic news,” said Mr Cooper.

“If Nick McDonald is behind us hopefully we can get other people on board. It’s very promising.”

Mr Cooper, also a Kimberley town councillor, has now arranged a meeting with Nottinghamshire County Council and key figures involved in the tram project to discuss the next stages.

“We now just need support from the county council. There are several routes on the table for the next phase. As well as Eastwood and Kimberley there’s West Bridgford and Gedling, for example.

“Someone has got to make the decision as to where the next route will be and I hope it will be here. It’s up to us to put the best argument forward.”

Cllr McDonald made the comments in a recent newspaper column.

He said: “A fourth line through Kimberley and up to Eastwood is key to regional growth in the Nottingham conurbation.

“That means planning must start now. We need to look to the future and plan the next stage. Phase two was spoken about in the 90s and will not be open until 2014. If we are serious about regenerating an area, we need plans that come forward now, not pie-in the sky thinking.”

Mr Cooper said the tram extension would ease traffic congestion in Nuthall and housing developers could potentially help towards the cost.

Mr Cooper set up KENTAG (Kimberley, Eastwood and Nuthall Tram Action Group) several years ago and mapped out a suggested route along the old tram lines in Kimberley.

KENTAG is the only pressure group in the county currently fighting for the tram.