Plans to extend Nottingham’s tram system to Eastwood have taken a big step forward after a high-profile meeting at Westminster with key transport figures.
Councillor Richard Robinson, tram campaigner and Broxtowe Borough Council member for Kimberley, who was at the meeting said: “They were 100 per cent behind the plans.
“TThis is the biggest step forward we have had with the tram in the past nine years.”
Gloria De Piero, Eastwood MP, hosted the meeting where plans were laid out to create a “super hub” at Langley Mill, where the tram from Kimberley and Eastwood would terminate.
The plan includes a fast link provided by train through to the planned new HS2 high-speed rail station at Toton, with options for electric buses to connect through Codnor onto Ripley.
Coun Robinson said: “Midland Connect is now actively considering the route and they showed us a route they are currently looking at.
“They were 100 per cent for it. The meeting was very successful.
“We all came out of that meeting feeling like there had been huge progress.
“This is going to be massive.
The meeting was with Sir John Peace, chairman of Midlands Engine, which is charged with boosting growth and investment across the whole of the region, and Andrew Pritchard, from East Midlands Councils who is looking into how HS2 will work locally.
Ms De Piero said: “My Eastwood constituents need greater transport links to Nottingham – one train every hour to Langley Mill and expensive bus services simply are not sufficient.
“The tram expansion would improve the journey to Nottingham, and more importantly would open the door to increased investment, business and jobs in Eastwood that people here urgently need.”
Coun Robinson said the next step was looking at the economics of the project across various options.
He said: “Over the next two years Midlands Connect will look at economic assessment.
“We have to find the most cost-effective route out to Eastwood and Langley Mill.
“There is tons of work to do over the next couple of years, which is going to be crucial for building up momentum.
“I am now meeting Mr Pritchard to work out what the next steps are practically, and find out what he needs from me to build support.
“We need to work more on the economics of it now and we need to win some more hearts and minds.”
Also at the meeting were Maria Machancoses, director of Midlands Connect, which looks at transport and infrastructure in the region, Andrew Cooper, chairman of the Kimberley Eastwood Nuthall, tram action group, Dave Tantum, an independent consultant who worked on the Midlands Devolution Dealand David Gibson, East Midlands light rail transport group regional officer.