TWO announcements which look to have buried Chard’s train station dream have been slammed by long-time campaigners as ‘deplorable’.

Cllr Andrew Turpin has been part of a 30-year long fight to see the platform at Chard Junction come back into use but has seen a blow to his hopes in the latest council comments.

Last year, pupils at Manor Court Primary School also launched a petition calling for the station south of Chard town to be reopened.

Year 3 students had been studying the history of Chard’s railway stations for a recent project.

The class petition for the reopening of Chard Junction railway station has been signed more than 650 times.

Another campaigner for the station to come back into use is Cllr Amanda Broom, county councillor for Chard North.

At a full council meeting on February 20, she reported the pupils’ findings to SCC.

Quoting the children’s report, she said: “We are certain that if Chard Junction railway station was to be reopened, it would mean more job opportunities for people in the local area.

“We are sure that reopening the railway [station] would encourage more people to visit Chard, which would help boost the local economy.

“Without a doubt, Chard is growing with more houses being built. Our roads are getting busier, therefore more toxic gases are being used by cars. Did you know it would be more environmentally friendly to use the train?

“Currently, there are not many bus services in our area. Consequently, we need other transport options.

“People in the local area would like to be able to visit other local towns more easily. For these reasons, Chard Junction railway station should be reopened.”

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After SCC and South Somerset District Council both said they could not commit to the station’s future, Cllr Turpin slammed their actions, saying: “I am quite incensed by some of the suggestions by SCC first of all.

“The Chard locality has a catchment area of 20,000 people. It is the biggest catchment area for any station between here and Salisbury, and it is interesting that they think opening this station will detract from Axminster and Crewkerne.

“It is absolute nonsense; it is quite untrue.”

Cllr Turpin also referred to the Manor Court petition in his arguments.

“The children are leading this campaign,” he added.

“It is their future. The fact they are being ignored at the moment is deplorable.”

Miss Chapman, Year 3 teacher at Manor Court Primary School, said “It was their hope, after learning about the history of the railways in Chard’s industrial past, that the railway station at Chard Junction could possibly be reopened.

“They are understandably disappointed by the decision that this will not happen.”

Cllr Turpin added: “Another issue is the question of cost. There are funds available from central government to do these things.

“The platform is in place and the line is in place. The signalling is in place. They would have to do nothing in comparative terms. There is even potential parking at the old milk factory.

“I am just staggered people can just make these blind, fictitious statements.”