Home » Reconnect Leek
Planning Permission refused 14-04-2016.
The Vision: “To make Leek a connected town of the future, not disconnected by the past.”
Reconnect Leek is a simple, realistic plan to unlock land value to generate cash to re-connect Leek to the national rail network and the Churnet Valley.
It involves the sale of land at Leekbrook for housing development to fund the reinstatement of the original rail line from Leekbrook Junction into Leek.
The whole project is totally dependent on the approval of the planning application and the funding that will result from it.
We need this to happen to quickly unlock huge future opportunities for the area.
On completion of the one mile original rail line
• Leek can be reconnected with the national rail network and to the Potteries.
• A rail link can be immediately established with the Churnet Valley Railway and eventually Alton Towers.
• The full potential of Churnet Valley as a vital tourism corridor will be realized through the development of regeneration projects, such as the Thomas Bolton site, Moneystone Quarry and the Cornhill Regeneration area with its new leisure, housing and employment opportunities.
• Local commuter passenger services can be developed, promoting sustainable transport and taking passengers off the road.
• Leek’s economy will take a big step forward; with tourist spend in Leek from the railway predicted by independent consultants to increase by £950,000 per year.
There is no doubt at all that Leek’s missing rail link is a serious impediment to the rejuvenation of tourism and business development in the town. Other nearby popular tourist town destinations, such as Buxton and Matlock for example, have rail services that help to maintain their status and prosperity. Leek is seriously disadvantaged, especially when you consider that the main roads into the town, the A53 and A520, are congested, slow routes.
Developing an efficient transport infrastructure, therefore, is an essential building block to supporting the local economy. There will also be a continuing need for travel between Leek and Stoke for work, education, retail and leisure purposes, and creating a sustainable low carbon rail alternative will accommodate growth in housing and employment without exacerbating highway congestion.
With conventional bank or public finance now unavailable for a project like this, MCR and CVR, in partnership, have come up with an idea to generate their own funding which will enable them to take this major step and get the railway back into Leek.
Right now, Moorland and City, their technical railway and planning consultants the Capita Symonds Group and the Churnet Valley Railway are working together to make Reconnect Leek happen.
Phase 1 is the development of MCR’s surplus land at Leekbrook.
• The Leekbrook scheme will include housing and a small station and convenience store for use by all residents of Leekbrook. Services will initially run to Leek and other stations in the Churnet Valley but will eventually cover all routes on the MCR/CVR network.
• The original north curve will be reinstated on its original line, allowing direct rail access from Leek to the Peak District fringe.
• A planning application for the Leekbrook development will be submitted to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council within the next few weeks.
• The housing land will be sold and will provide the funding to reinstate the line into Leek.
On successful completion of Phase 1, work will start immediately on the technical aspects of reinstating the line into Leek along its original route.
• A new company, Reconnect Leek PLC, will take the project forward and shares in the new company will be made available to the public.
• MCR will fund the company to a level sufficient to cover all costs of reinstating the line into Leek.
• A new flagship station for Leek will be the new headquarters for MCR and CVR and will include, for the first time in the area, a museum dedicated to the history of the North Staffordshire Railway.
Reconnect Leek not only envisions a lively, connected and prosperous urban community, with significantly improved accessibility for all, but will help Churnet Valley Railway achieve its main objective of the last 20 years by arriving in Leek – a milestone in CVR’s remarkable journey to join the top flight of UK heritage railways. Taking CVR into Leek is predicted to lead to an increase in its visitor numbers by 25,000 per year, underpinning its finances and allowing it to improve its railway offer.
Make no mistake, Reconnect Leek will be a game changer for the whole area, a magnet for future investment and a viable alternative for what we can achieve in the urban core of the Staffordshire Moorlands.
© 2017 Moorland & City Railways
Designed by Jackson Hammond