Up to 1300 parking spaces could be provided at a new station at Hairmyres as part of the biggest park and ride scheme in South Lanarkshire.
Proposals to move the station around 0.5km (0.3 miles) west were supported by councillors at Tuesday’s (February 3) community and enterprise resources committee.
Gordon Mackay, head of roads and transportation services, told the committee that relocating the station was “the favoured option”.
Should negotiations with landowners conclude smoothly, the project is expected to be completed by 2023 with space for fossil fuel cars and for charging electric vehicles.
East Kilbride councillors Hugh MacDonald and Monique McAdams welcomed the move.
Cllr MacDonald (East Kilbride Central North) said the project was “something that would be welcomed by the people of East Kilbride” while Cllr McAdams (East Kilbride West) added: “It is not just about East Kilbride or Hairmyres. It is about the full area.”
The council are now set to enter a legally-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Network Rail, SPT and Transport Scotland which outlines each partners’ role in the project.
Network Rail will negotiate the purchase of the land which will be funded by Transport Scotland while the council and SPT will fund complementary infrastructure such as the park and ride.
Mr Mackay confirmed that the council were set to contribute £3.75 million with SPT contributing £4.2 million.
He also said that by 2023, the estimated demand for a park and ride at Hairmyres would be between 700 and 800 cars which would leave “sufficient space for growth”.
However, Cllr David Watson (East Kilbride West) was concerned the report contained no plan B and hoped councillors would be kept up to date with progress.
He added: “What’s not covered in the report is what other options have been looked at and why is this the preferred option?”
If Network Rail were only partially successful in their negotiations with the landowners, Mr Mackay said there “are a range of other scalable scenarios” including building the park and ride up the way if necessary.
In a “worst case scenario”, Mr Mackay said the council could go down the route of a compulsory purchase order to obtain the land.
Almost £25 million was committed to improve the East Kilbride to Glasgow line by the Scottish Government in May 2019 and other projects including electrification, duelling the track and extending platforms are being discussed.
Labour group leader, Cllr Joe Fagan (East Kilbride Central North), felt decision should already have been made by Transport Scotland over the future of the line.
He said: “I thought that we would be past the point that these would be options and that we would be further on with what we want to do.”