The MetroWest Phase 1 project is proposing to re-open the Portishead rail line and enhance local passenger train services on the Severn Beach and Bath to Bristol lines. The plans include a new rail station at Portishead and the reopening of the former station at Pill.
DCO as made now available
The DCO as made by the Secretary of State is now available on this site using the link below or from the menu to the left:
Section 134 process underway
The Development Consent Order that granted planning consent on the 14th November 2022 also includes permission to start the compulsory purchase of land needed to build the rail line.
As of the week commencing 12th December 2022 we’re sending letters to residents in the local area with information to update them on this process and the next steps. Site notices about the Development Consent Order will also be placed at locations close to the future railway line.
In most cases, these letters are for information only. We are already in conversations with impacted landowners and are working towards bringing the Portishead rail line forward with them.
The complete set of Development Consent Order documents will be available to view at Portishead Library, Pill Resource Centre and Weston-super-Mare library until the end of January 2023. They are also available on this site
Development Consent Order granted for the Portishead Branch Line
The Department for Transport (DfT) announced consent for the project on Monday 14th November 2022.
The Development Consent Order (DCO) includes planning consent, environmental consent and the compulsory acquisition of land and is required before nationally significant infrastructure projects can be built. The achievement of this major milestone means the project can now move forward towards the delivery phase.
Over the next 18 months the project will complete its detailed design, undertake ecology enabling works and, finally, submit its Full Business Case to funding decision makers (the Department for Transport, the Combined Authority and North Somerset Council).
Response sent to DfT setting out additional funding commitments
Following the additional funding commitments from the Combined Authority, North Somerset Council, and Department for Transport – all of which closes the remaining funding gap – a response was sent to the DfT’s ‘minded to’ letter. This included an updated Funding Statement which sets out in detail the revised estimated cost of the scheme, and details confirming that the funding needed for delivery has been secured. The updated Funding Statement also addresses all the points set out in the letter of 19th April 2022. The expectation is that the DCO decision can now be made in Winter 2022.
Additional funding secured to deliver Portishead rail line
The Department for Transport have committed an additional £15.5m to deliver the scheme. This is in addition to £10m committed by North Somerset Council, and another £10m committed by the West of England Combined Authority, which closes the remaining funding gap.
The gap was the result of approval of the scheme’s Development Consent Order (DCO) costing more than anticipated and unprecedented global increases to the cost of energy, labour and construction materials.
For further information see:
Additional funding sought to deliver Portishead rail line
North Somerset Council has been working closely with the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and the Department for Transport (DfT) for additional funding to progress the scheme. Projected capital costs of the scheme have risen to £152m following delays to approval of the scheme’s DCO and unprecedented global increases to the cost of energy, labour and construction materials. Both the council and WECA are seeking to commit an additional £10m to the project to bridge the funding shortfall and deliver the scheme, and are asking the DfT to close the remaining £15.5m funding gap.
Government consent on MetroWest Phase 1 delayed to 2023
A decision on the DCO was due on the 19th April 2022.
The Secretary of State announced a further delay to consent for construction of MetroWest Phase 1. For further information, please refer to the written statement laid out in Parliament.
North Somerset Council issued a press release setting out their views on the decision on the 19th April 2022
DCO decision update, January 14th 2022
The MetroWest Phase 1 project is still awaiting a decision on the Development Consent Order (DCO) by the Department for Transport (DfT).
The DCO application was submitted in November 2019. The process included an examination in public which took six months and ended in April 2021. The decision had been expected in October 2021 but it was confirmed then that the Secretary of State would require up to a further 6 months to make the decision.
The project team are continuing to press for a decision to be made as soon as possible.
DCO decision delayed
A decision on the DCO was due on the 19th October 2021.
The Secretary of State has decided to re-set the statutory deadline for decision to the 19th April 2022. For further information, please refer to the written statement laid in Parliament.
The project team are currently working through the implications of this delay to the programme.
The examination period began on Tuesday 6th October and is expected to last for 6 months. It begins with two preliminary hearings followed by the first open floor hearing on the 19th October. Following these meetings, the Examining Authority issues a significant number of questions to the project team as well as stakeholders, partners and other bodies and individuals. A series of formal deadlines have also been set, and will be a very intense period for the project.
The timetable for the examination can be viewed here (Annex A)
Further details on the project and the DCO process are available from PINS website
Section 56 Planning Act 2008, notice of accepted application
The Planning Inspectorate (on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport) has accepted the Development Consent Order (DCO) Application made by North Somerset District Council . The Application was made on 15th November 2019 and accepted for examination on 12th December 2019.
A hard copy of the full suite of Application documents, including plans, maps and other documents may be inspected free of charge from 14th January 2020 until at least 26th February 2020 at Portishead Library, Pill Resource Centre, and Bristol Central Library.
Paper copies can be provided on request from the Applicant by writing to “MetroWest Team, North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ” for a charge of £500 plus VAT for the full suite of documents. USB device copies can be provided free of charge and are available on request from the Applicant, by emailing email@example.com or calling 0117 4286210.
Registration of interested parties with the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) closed on 26th February 2020. PINS published the 129 relevant representations from those who registered to put their case on the DCO scheme. These can be viewed on PINS website
Further section 42 consultation from 30 August to 1 October 2019 is now closed
In August 2019, following our review of title and Land Registry information, we further identified those with an interest in some of the land required for, or affected by, the proposals to re-open the Portishead branch line. We contacted affected parties directly with details of how to respond. The consultation is now closed. Thanks to those that took part. For reference, the documentation listed in the correspondence can be viewed by clicking the link below:
Report on the Stage 2 Consultation on re-opening the Portishead branch line as part of MetroWest Phase 1
A report on the Stage 2 Consultation is now available by clicking the link below:
Large Local Major Schemes: Bid for construction funding – December 2017
In December 2017, the West of England LEP and the promoting authorities (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and the West of England Combined Authority) submitted a funding bid for MetroWest Phase 1 to the Department for Transport’s Large Local Major Schemes programme.
More information, and all documents submitted, can be viewed by clicking the link below:
Stage 2 Consultation on re-opening the Portishead branch line as part of MetroWest Phase 1
Our Stage 2 Consultation was held from 23 October to 4 December 2017. The consultation has now closed.
Thank you to everyone who took part. We will consider all the responses we received and will publish a report in early 2018.
More information about the consultation can be viewed by clicking the link below:
All our documents from the consultation can be viewed by clicking the link below:
Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR)
MetroWest document archive
Historic documents about the MetroWest Phase 1 project – including the business case, consultation reports and environmental information – can be viewed by clicking the link below:
Please note that some of the information in these historic documents has now been superceded and may be out of date.
Planning Inspectorate website
The Planning Inspectorate’s website also holds information on all individual DCO applications, including the re-opening of the Portishead branch line. Please click the link below to be taken to their website: