The Welsh Government has confirmed that progress on the proposed St Clears railway station remains frustratingly slow, following a question in the Senedd from Plaid Cymru’s Cefin Campbell MS.
St Clears’ station closed in 1964, and efforts to have it re-opened have been ongoing since the 1970s.
The UK Government had previously committed £4.7 million towards a new station. Groundwork and surveying were undertaken at the site between February and March 2022 to begin the work of upgrading and reopening the station.
However, it has become apparent over recent months that uncertainty continues over the funding behind the project – with the Deputy Minister for Climate Change confirming this week costs had increased significantly.
Responding to a question from Cefin Campbell in the Senedd, Lee Waters MS, the Deputy Minister for Climate Change confirmed that the estimated cost of the St Clears proposal had: “Increased significantly, as indeed have all infrastructure projects, and our capital budget has simultaneously been cut by 8 per cent in real terms by the Conservative Government as part of their chosen austerity drive. In the short term, we do have a financial gap without a very clear way of addressing it.”
The Deputy Minister also confirmed that the Welsh Government had been in discussions with the Hywel Dda Health Board regarding the station, as part of the Health Board’s planning for a new West Wales hospital.
In his question, Mr Campbell had outlined the economic and environmental advantages the station at St Clears could deliver to the town and area and expressed concerns about the delays to the project.
Mr Campbell, Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd for Mid and West Wales said: “There’s no denying that a new station in St Clears would provide so many benefits for the town and area - as well as meeting wider Welsh Government active transport and decarbonisation targets.
“However, it’s increasingly clear there’s growing delay and uncertainty around the redevelopment of the station, and I welcomed the opportunity to press the Deputy Minister further on this point.
“I would urge the Welsh Government to working alongside stakeholders to ensure that this long-awaited project is delivered and delivered soon.”
A previous petition launched in 2020 in favour of reopening the station at St Clears gained over 1,200 signatories.