NEW plans have been submitted by Network Rail to build a substation in Green Belt in Aughton after protests by residents led to a previous application being blocked.
Network Rail has said the work would be located at the east of the railway line at land off Mickering Lane.
They want to place the substation in the Green Belt due to the face is of “suitable size and is the only viable location to enable the power supply upgrade that will ensure that the new trains can be powered to their full capacity along the route.
“The site’s development will not adversely impact on the openness of the Green Belt due to the small-scale nature of the structures proposed.”
They believe that the site will also not “impact” the Green Belt and its location distant from visual receptors will ensure that it doesn’t impact adversely upon local landscape character.
Network Rail add: “A suitable, well-designed landscaping scheme will be developed in order to further ensure the proposals site well with the local landscape.”
Network Rail said the substation needs to be mid-way between the existing substations near Aughton Park and Maghull, “as this is an area of low voltage.” This would mean the substation would be able to convert “the sufficient power to run the new trains.”
They said that the works are necessary as part of the Merseyrail Power Upgrade project. This will ensure that Merseyrail’s new trains can be introduced. They stated: “The works proposed on site are necessary supporting infrastructure to enable the delivery of the upgraded rolling stock throughout the Merseyrail network.”
Last year consent had initially been sought by Network Rail for a substation adjacent to the rail bridge above Sandy Lane. This led to protests from residents and the borough council planning committee refused the application on the grounds of “impact to Green Belt and landscape character”.
Following this, Network Rail said they undertook a “rigorous assessment of alternative locations in the locality, and it was found that the new site in this new application is the most suitable alternative.”
The new substations will mean the new trains will be able to travel beyond the current Merseyrail boundaries such as Skelmersdale.
Network Rail believes the new fleet of trains will “enhance the economy” and have “both environmental and social benefits.”