Concerns expressed over shortfall in funding for St Clears railway station

Concerns have been raised over a potential shortfall of funding for a new railway station at St Clears.

During the Plenary of 14th March Sam Kurtz the MS for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire said: “I’m sure, Deputy Minister, you will be aware of my enthusiasm for the new St Clears railway station in my constituency of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire. This is a project that the community is incredibly invested in. However, there is concern from Carmarthenshire County Council about shortfalls in potential source funding. I wrote to you, Deputy Minister, on 20 January to raise these concerns. However, I’m yet to receive a reply. Deputy Minister, local people want to see improved access to public transport and the UK Government have committed £5 million to this project, yet there seems to be little progress on the ground. So, in lieu of no reply to my correspondence, what assurances can you give my constituents and to me that the Welsh Government still intends to deliver on a new train station in St Clears? And what timescale can they expect it to be delivered within?”

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters MS said that he hoped the letter wasn’t lost in the post, but that he did reply to a written question from Mr Kurtz on the very same subject. He said: “The work is due to be finalised soon and will provide an outline design and an expected construction cost, which will inform the next steps and the programme timescales for this new station. But as Sam Kurtz rightly pointed out, there has been an increase in cost, as there has been with every infrastructure project in the country. There is now a gap that has doubled, which obviously creates a challenge for us at a time when our capital budgets from the UK Government have fallen in real terms by 8 per cent. So, there are consequences to the cuts by the UK Government to the priorities the Member and we have. So, we’re going to have to try and work that through.

“We are conscious, obviously, that one of the sites that Hywel Dda health board are consulting on for a new west Wales hospital is in St Clears, and that is very much part of our thinking, so we’ll be following that process closely. Fundamentally, of course, this is rail infrastructure, and rail infrastructure is not devolved. It should be for the UK Government to be fully funding rail infrastructure, and perhaps we can work together to make representations to them to help us fill any shortfall.”

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