Campaign over abandoned station

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Merseytravel train line © Flickr/ Creative Commons/ Matthew Black

Businesses are campaigning to re-open the abandoned St James’s train station in order to boost tourism and encourage the area to develop.

The Baltic Triangle which surrounds the area has had a recent surge of development, including the arrival of creative and entrepreneurial businesses and the opening of venues such as Camp and Furnace.

Antony Pickthall, chair of the Baltic Triangle stakeholder group, told JMU Journalism: “The re-opening of St James’s station would improve conductivity, it would also boost potential tourism and encourage businesses that haven’t moved here because it hasn’t been as well served by public transport.

“It would enable us to bring the area on in a way that makes social economic sense”

Next September will also see the opening of a school in the Baltic Triangle. The stakeholder group has argued that the 1,000 pupils that will study there will need a direct transport link.

Mr Pickthall said: “The plans to open the college, potentially, could give room to 1,000 students trying to make their way to the area.

“Travelling would be substantially easier if there was a station. I think one of the interesting things is that people clearly won’t be coming for just the area itself, there are attractions here but there are also plans to develop St James church site.”

Local businesses have argued that if this creative and entrepreneurial space is to be developed, it will need a more efficient transport link.

Mr Pickthall told JMU Journalism: “We have to look at the bigger picture and the city centre’s conductivity and its ability to link the waterfront with the Baltic triangle and therefore potentially with the Anglican cathedral and more directly with Liverpool One.”

It is understood that re-opening would not be for several years if there is sufficient funding and support.

He added: “We’ve set it as an ambition, as it’s most economically unlikely to happen in the short term and certainly would take time that could be anything between ten to 20 years.”

Councillor Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel, told JMU journalism: “We are of course aware that this was mentioned in Liverpool’s Strategic Investment Framework as a possible project, and will discuss any proposed business cases, as and when they are put forward.”

The campaign hopes to raise awareness that the station is there and raise money for research.

Mr Pickthall told JMU Journalism: “It has been a bit of an open secret but awareness that there are businesses that consider it important, including the Anglican cathedral, the Arena, Elevate Studios, Camp and Furnace and the college.

“The next step is to raise money for research that we know exists so we can put a business case forward to Merseytravel.”

 

About Hannah Ashraf, JMU Journalism