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Gloucestershire Business News

Renishaw eyes rail link for net-zero breakthrough

With a final deal about to drop early for a £22m new rail link at Charfield, tech giant Renishaw PLC sees the new transport option as an opportunity to reinforce net zero targets.

Full approval was expected last night from South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) though a snag over consultation period dates has pushed final go-ahead to early next week. Planners have agreed the joint deal with SGC and Network Rail, with the rubber stamp due, says a spokesman, on Monday or Tuesday.

With 1,850 employees based across two sites within just a mile of the new station, Renishaw is the biggest employer in the southern end of Gloucestershire. And having already added its weight to the proposal, the firm has welcomed today's news.

Chris Pockett, spokesman, said: "We welcome the positive planning decision. With 1,850 employees at sites around one mile from the proposed station, most of whom have to use cars to commute, we see this as an excellent opportunity to reduce emissions as part of our Net Zero targets."

The employer also believes Charfield Station will be an added incentive for luring new talent from Gloucester, Yate and Bristol.

Anticipated timing of project completion, late next year, could also coincide neatly with a target to complete the ambitious Wotton-Charfield-Kingswood Greenway – a project Renishaw has helped to develop. Developer Sustrans is understood to be finalising drawings for the project, which will deliver a dedicated green route between key local points. Renishaw believes the Greenway, bordering its New Mills and Charfield sites and leading direct to the station, will enable employees to walk, cycle or run to work.

Chris added: "we will also consider running a mini-bus service to connect with northbound and southbound trains that are within the window of start-of-day and end-of-day working hours."

Further fine details have also emerged of Network Rail's planned construction. A canopied footbridge will span 14m over the railway line to link the two platforms and will have a maximum roof height of 12.5 m. The design is Network Rail's 'Beacon Footbridge', which integrates a 16-person lift into each of the towers of the footbridge design.

"The platforms and bridge will be always open to the public and will be lit during hours of operation with LED motion detection lights to the rear of the platforms and on the bridge structure. Outside operating hours, the lights will be dimmed and operate only when motion is detected," said an SGC report.

Within the station forecourt there will be provision for a bus stop, covered cycle parking for up to 40 bicycles, two taxi bays, a drop-off bay and 23 car parking spaces. The latter will feature six bays for electric car charging, plus seven disabled access spaces arranged around a one-way system.

Cycle parking will be covered with 40 square metres of sedum roof and have separate access, as well as a further eight-space bike parking spot on the other side of the station.

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