NEW proposals are being put together for the first new railway station in Hampshire for 25 years, the Daily Echo can reveal.

Plans have been put forward by Network Rail to undertake a study to open a new railway station near the proposed new Garden Town development of Welborne.

The new station would be expected to serve a population base of over 20,000 people and forecasted to cost several millions of pounds.

The plans will see a two-platform station on the Fareham-Eastleigh line at the former Knowle Halt which used to serve Knowle Hospital, a former mental asylum which closed in April 1964.

Councillor Sean Woodward, Leader of Fareham Borough Council said the plans were interesting for the area.

He said: “Back in November, I met with senior managers at Network Rail to discuss the possibility of building a new station near Welborne, but the ideas has always been rebuffed.

“I’m interested and surprised that Network Rail are now undertaking a feasibility study for the new station.

“The new proposals are certainly welcoming for the area and it will certainly alleviate traffic on the M27 and provide an extra option to encourage environmentally friendly transport.

“However we need to ensure that the Welborne plans go thorough first, where we expect to start construction in the next two years.”

The majority landowner of the area for the new community of Welborne, Buckland Developments is expected to submit a planning application in early march of this year.

Owen Johns, a spokesperson for Network Rail, said: “Towards the end of December we met with Fareham Borough Council to discuss various options for connecting the new Welborne development to the existing railway network, and we have offered to work with the council to examine the situation in more detail over the coming months.”

A spokesperson for Buckland Development Ltd. commented: “The Welborne Plan outlines the possibility for a railway station to serve the new community and we appreciate that this could potentially be an attractive proposition to improve transport infrastructure for the area.

Bryan Jezeph, of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, Planning and Transport Committee, said: “The station at Funtley/Knowle closed in the 1960s and it should be re-opened to serve the new development. Welborne should have the objective of minimizing the use of the car and a new station would provide effective links.”

the Wellborne project to create a new so-called Garden Town near Fareham will see 6,000 homes built for 20,000 new residents. The project has met with strong local opposition but has government backing.