Kimberley councillor Richard Robinson, who is heavily involved in negotiations, said that despite recent setbacks due to HS2 he is still hopeful the area will be connected to the tram network in years to come.
“We had originally hoped that the plans would be able to coincide with the HS2 station at Toton.
“However, people will no doubt have heard about the change of mind that the government has had with the Eastern leg of HS2 now being scrapped.
“We are now looking at alternative ways that tram connectivity and better public transport through Kimberley and Eastwood could be realised.
“There is still a huge demand for the tram. Broxtowe Borough Council did a survey last year to do with transport and the tram was mentioned in the survey more than anything else – 125 times in fact, with 80% of people in favour.”
The extended tram line, terminating at Langley Mill, would connect Kimberley, Giltbrook Retail Park and Eastwood to Nottingham and provide residents with a sub-30 minute commute time to the city centre – significantly reducing the congestion along the A610 at peak times.
“There is so much uncertainty at the moment. However we have not given up the fight,” Coun Robinson added.
“I and many others hoped that we might have started to build in 2025. This clearly is not going to happen and it is turning out to be a much longer process than anticipated.
“But while this is disappointing, we need not to dwell on what could have been, but what potential there is to adapt plans for the future.
“I had a meeting a few weeks ago with some key stakeholders, looking at the possibilities for linking a tram extension with a reopening of the Maid Marian line.”
The Maid Marian line, which currently only runs freight trains but is soon set to reopen to passengers, runs through Ilkeston and Langley Mill before veering off towards Selston and Jacksdale.
Coun Robinson added: “What we want to do is see if there is scope to tie in getting the connectivity by linking the tram extension to the train line.
“It’s going to involve lots of different conversations with councils across Nottinghamshire but we don’t want to give up. This is a great chance for places like Kimberley and Eastwood, which often miss out, to see improved transport and it would also bring new jobs and regeneration to the area.
“As this year develops, I will keep residents posted on any realistic opportunities for the tram extension to be developed – in whatever form that takes.”