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Rail plans revealed
THE company that owns and operates Britain’s rail infrastructure has released images of what a new regional training facility, being planned for a key site in Basingstoke, could look like.
As exclusively revealed in The Gazette, Network Rail is in the process of buying six acres of land on the previously derelict Gresley Road site, near the town centre.
The new facility will enable Network Rail employees to be trained in maintenance, engineering design, project management and signalling.
Over the next 15 years, the training facility could see as many as 3,000 workers based in the town.
The building work could be completed by the end of 2013.
The land borders Basing View business park, which is currently undergoing a multi-million-pound regeneration, being bankrolled by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
Borough bosses say the Network Rail deal shows the faith that major companies have in Basingstoke as a business destination.
Network Rail will, in total, pay £10million to redevelop the Gresley Road site, last used as a car park and previously earmarked for hundreds of flats.
The plans include a footbridge over the railway line to provide a much-improved link between the Gresley Road site and Basing View.
Borough council leader Councillor Andrew Finney said: “The good news is that we have got the initial artist’s impression of what the site is going to look like. We are expecting a planning submission in the near future.
“I think the site looks like a quality office campus development which will be a great improvement on what the site is currently.”
A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are making good progress. There are approximately 3,000 people employed on the route out of London Waterloo to Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire and Dorset. If all goes to plan, we would expect a significant number of these roles to move to Basingstoke over the next ten to 15 years.”
The purchase of the site has not yet been completed, but talks are said to be at “an advanced stage”.
The scheme will also be subject to full planning permission.