Column: Rail franchise deal must mean more jobs for the area

Mark Spencer MP.
Mark Spencer MP.

Up in the Mansfield end of Sherwood, the biggest issue that I try to focus on is jobs and getting more of them.

That’s why I’m continuing to do as much as I can to talk to the right people and put pressure in the right places for delivering the Robin Hood Line extension.

If we can get that line open again it will connect that part of north Nottinghamshire directly with Nottingham and the wider country.

I’m clear that it would be the number one way to ensure greater business investment and bring work opportunities to the area.

That’s why I met with Abellio, one of the rail companies that intends to bid for the franchise.

I think it’s really important to meet with them beforehand to ensure that they know what the challenges are in the areas that the line is going to pass through, so they know what to focus on when they make their bid, and they know what to factor into their case.

I’ll be saying exactly the same to Stagecoach, another company intending to bid, when I meet them.

The rail company which wins the franchise must operate it in full possession of local knowledge in terms of what the line can bring to my constituents – and I’ll make sure they’re fully equipped with the facts.

The line would run to Edwinstowe – giving people a perfect opportunity to visit the new visitor centre there, which I visited at the end of May and I have to say I’m very impressed.

I’m optimistic, as are the team there, that visitor numbers to the new centre will be significant, especially with the busy summer period coming up.

Naturally, I’d wholeheartedly recommend it!

After Edwinstowe, the line would arrive in Ollerton – where you’re not far from Kirton, where I was delighted to cut the ribbon for the new play park.

I know it’s come as a result of lots of hard work and lobbying by local residents, and it’s great to have somewhere else for the little ones.