ACRES of land have been ringfenced for reopening a railway station at Grove and a reservoir at East Hanney.

Vale of White Horse District Council has protected those sites and others from development in its new local plan part two, a document which outlines future development in the area.

In Grove the authority has set aside land on both sides of the A338 north of the Volunteer pub and Williams F1 – on and around the site of the former Wantage Road Station.

But the Vale is also working with Oxfordshire County Council to prepare a new business case for reopening the station which closed in 1964.

Previously councillors and residents have petitioned Network Rail to reopen the station for the good of Wantage and Grove.

Now Vale leader Matt Barber said his authority is backing a new scheme being spearheaded by Wantage MP Ed Vaizey which they hope would make the station more likely.

Mr Vaizey and a group of other MPs are putting together a case for extending the already-proposed East West line which would link Oxford to Cambridge.

Their proposed new 'line', using existing railway tracks, would include new ‘parkway’ stations at Grove, Corsham and Royal Wooton Bassett.

The MPs first met in January and are now building the business case to take forward to government.

Mr Barber has said the new plan protects the land that would be needed against other development.

He said: "What's exciting is that it's not just the old business case.

"We are talking about 10 years to get the funding and that's being optimistic, but I'm encouraged because for the first time I can see a good case to be made."

Some of the most immediate beneficiaries of a new station would be the team who run the Volunteer pub next door to the proposed site.

Jacqueline Cox, who took on the inn with her mum Debbie last April, said: "I think it would be positive for everyone – people have been wanting the station for ages and with all the houses being built the fact they have put land aside is a really good thing."

Some 4,000 houses are due to be built at the former Grove Airfield site and Crab Hill north of Charlton and Mr Barber said those new residents would help build the business case for a new station.

Meanwhile the council has also set aside some 2,000 hectares of land for a new reservoir between East Hanney, Abingdon and Steventon.

It is the same site which Thames Water attempted to get Government permission to build a reservoir in 2011 but was refused.

Mr Barber said the council remained opposed to the proposal of building a reservoir on the site in principle but had been 'advised' by a planning inspector to set the land aside for that purpose.