A COUNCILLOR has suggested Oakley train station could be reopened to help residents commute more easily into London.

Cllr Onnalee Cubitt (Old Basing, Conservative) was speaking at an economic, planning and housing committee meeting last week.

Discussing Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s wider transportation plans as part of its strategic vision for developing the land at junction 7 of the M3, Cllr Cubitt suggested the line closed in the 1960s could be brought back into use.

Cllr Cubitt said: “I know it is not popular with everyone but we have a Beeching line in Oakley. We know that most people that live in the houses that we build do not work in Basingstoke, they commute.

“We know that junction 6 [of the M3] has issues and the railway station at Basingstoke has trains that are full. To my mind, it is so obvious that we should aspire to reopen the Beeching line, given the government’s wishes to encourage this."

She added that this would help commuters who are will be moving into the new build houses in Oakley to "get onto the railway system at Oakley". The nearest train stations currently are Overton, approximately five miles via the Andover Road, or a six-mile car journey to Basingstoke.

Cllr Cubitt's comments come after suggestions from councillors that a railway station could be built in Chineham as part of a review into the A33 corridor between Basingstoke and Reading.

Oakley railway station was opened on July 3, 1854, by the London and South Western Railway. It closed on June 17, 1963, as part of the nationwide railway reform carried out by Dr Richard Beeching.

Roughly 5,000 miles of track and more than 2,300 stations were axed following the Beeching report which aimed to cut the mounting debts of the nationalised British Rail by removing rural and least-used branches.

In recent years, the government has sought to reverse some of the cuts and earlier this year, pledged £500million to bring disused stations back into use.

The population of Oakley was 5,086 at the time of the last census, held in 2011. The number now is likely to be higher and is set to rise, following the approval of a number of housing projects.