At a meeting of the Council Executive this week council members heard the background to the proposed station. Transport Scotland and the lead developer - Winchburgh Developments Ltd (WDL) - are responsible for funding and delivering a new station for Winchburgh.
Winchburgh is one of West Lothian's Core Development areas which allows for the development of 3,450 houses. To support the development a number of infrastructure improvements were identified including the provision of a railway station on the main Edinburgh - Linlithgow - Glasgow rail line.
However the council's report set out that there is no condition on the planning consent which places an absolute requirement on the developer to provide the railway station.
The reason for that is that Transport Scotland would not allow an unrestricted requirement for delivery of the station to be conditioned as part of the planning consent as, at the time, further work on the business case for the station was required.
Through discussions with the council, Winchburgh Developments Ltd has indicated that Transport Scotland are now likely to approve provision of the railway station. However, the council understands that Transport Scotland, who would ultimately be responble for its delivery, are indicating that the cost will be significantly higher than WDL's budget assumption - by up to 100%.
WDL has therefore indicated that they will have to progress with an alternative public transport strategy for Winchburgh, without the reliance on rail, unless the balance of funding for the station can be secured from another source.
Craig McCorriston, West Lothian Council's Head of Planning, Economic Development and Regeneration said:
"We would be concerned and extremely disappointed if a station was not provided at Winchburgh.
"West Lothian Council has always recognised the need for a sustainable transport solution focused on a new railway station since the earliest days of identifying the Core Development Area at Winchburgh.
"Whilst we appreciate that recent train usage data has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the benefit of the rail network does not exist only for commuting and is important for many other purposes including access to education, health care and socialising.
"Unfortunately the council isn't part of detailed discussions with WDL or Transport Scotland but we are encouraging both parties to refocus their efforts on developing a proposal which is deliverable within the budget available or utilising other infrastructure funding support.
"We also endeavour to be involved in early discussions with Transport Scotland and WDL to gain a greater understanding on their detailed plans including securing the necessary funding for the delivery of a new train station in Winchburgh."