A RAILWAY station at Grove has been made a priority in a new Oxfordshire transport plan.

Oxfordshire County Council has named "Grove Station" as a priority for a new station in its latest Connecting Oxfordshire transport strategy this week.

But the re-located road bridge over the railway at Grove may have scuppered hopes of opening a new facility at the site of the former Wantage Road Station.

In the document council planners wrote: "Our expectation is that a new station could be served by the hourly passenger service to be introduced between the south west of England, Oxford and the East Midlands by 2033, and peak-hour services to and from Didcot, Reading and London Paddington".

The council has long wanted to re-open a railway station at the site of the former Wantage Road Station, just north of Grove by the Volunteer Pub.

But officers writing in the Connecting Oxfordshire plan said the reconstruction of the A338 bridge just a few feet to the east of the old one, "now means the land we had previously identified for a new station is no longer available".

The reporter's authors said they were now looking at alternative sites for the station.

However county council leader Ian Hudspeth told the Herald that he thought a new station could still be built on roughly the same site but also moved slightly to the east.

Mr Hudspeth, who spearheaded a planning application to build a new station at that site in 2008 as a county cabinet member, said: "There is a lot of growth going on in the Wantage and Grove area so having better connectivity to Didcot and London has got to be a positive thing."

He also explained a new station could not simply "stop" trains already running along the railway at Grove on existing routes.

Therefore, Mr Hudspeth said that crucial to opening a new station at Grove would be doubling the lines between Didcot and Oxford from two to four, which is a central part of the Connecting Oxfordshire strategy.

With new lines, rail operators could run new services which could stop at Grove, he said.

In order to fund the project, which would be in the tens of millions, Mr Hudspeth said the county council would have to bid for capital during one of Network Rail's five-year control periods.

He said funding was already mostly allocated for the next two periods, but he hoped that by making the station a priority in Connecting Oxfordshire, the county could "throw its hat in the ring" for the 2025-2030 funding tranche.

Mr Hudspeth also stressed the importance of trying to find funding other than the Department for Transport or Network Rail, such as developer contributions or private business investment, in order to bait the hook for Government planners.

He admitted: "People would say these plans are years away, and they are, but at some stage we need to say 'this is our ambition', and that's what this plan is."

The full Connecting Oxfordshire plan will be published at oxfordshire.gov.uk