WANTAGE MP Ed Vaizey has said that a train station at Grove is becoming a ‘considerably more positive prospect’, following years of hold-ups.

The Conservative MP for Didcot and Wantage suggested that the long-running saga to build the station could be coming closer to a conclusion.

The rail hub would save Wantage residents having to drive to Didcot Parkway to catch a train, which takes 20 minutes without traffic and during recent roadworks has taken twice as long.

Mr Vaizey said: “Grove Station is looking like a considerably more positive prospect than it was a few years ago. I convened a round table with stakeholders late last year and we agreed that the next step was to establish a task force - similar to other local rail initiatives.”

Last year, Vale of White Horse District Council set land aside for building on both sides of the A338 north of Williams F1 – on and around the site of the former Wantage Road Station.

Mr Vaizey continued: “I was very pleased that the National Infrastructure Commission included Grove Station in their suggestions for the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Corridor, and I have been working with Iain Stewart, the government champion for the corridor, to include it in a cohesive regional plan.

“Iain will shortly be reporting back to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and I will use the result of that meeting to decide how best to proceed with the campaign.”

Previously councillors and residents have petitioned Network Rail to reopen the station.

Last year, Vale leader Matt Barber backed a scheme spearheaded by Mr Vaizey to make the station’s building come to fruition.

But Mr Barber said then that taking 10 years to get the funding was being ‘optimistic’.

With 4,000 houses due to be built at the former Grove Airfield site and Crab Hill north of Charlton, there are concerns about congestion from additional residents.

Julie Mabberley, the Campaign Manager for the Wantage and Grove Campaign Group, said: “Grove Station is included in the Oxfordshire Infrastructure Strategy for the time frame 2021 – 2026. So there may be more traction at the current time, but as far as we know it’s not currently in any Network Rail plans.

“There [old station] closed in December 1964. It provided a very easy way to commute to Didcot, Swindon or even London [and] could do the same again.”

Grove Parish Council Chairman June Stock added: “The council fully supports the re-opening of the rail station. The ever-increasing size of Grove and the surrounding area of over 7,000 new dwellings, means that rail travel will be an attractive alternative to the increasingly congested road network.”

A spokesperson for Vale of White Horse District Council said: “We are continuing to work with Oxfordshire County Council to establish a business case, including a preferred location, for the station.”