COUNCILLORS have agreed to push ahead with work exploring the possibility of building a light railway or monorail system in Bournemouth.

Members of Bournemouth council’s environment and economy scrutiny panel agreed to further investigate the feasibility of a conurbation-wide light railway system.

Discussions have been held with potential Chinese investors with councillors admitting that it would be difficult for the local authority to fund any scheme. Following a request from the panel’s chairman, Cllr Mark Anderson, a feasibility report was produced on alternative transport systems which warned that any such project could be a “time consuming and costly affair with no guarantee of success”.

However, it did say that previous research had found that a light rail system “would fulfil a role” in the town’s transport network.

Considering the issue on Tuesday, members of the panel said that it could help alleviate traffic issues across the conurbation.

Cllr Ian Lancashire said: “The roads are becoming more and more congested.

“Getting into the hospital is almost impossible and it seems to me that it would be worthwhile looking further into this because it could serve the hospital, the airport and the university.

“One of the most important aspects could be a park and ride scheme from around the airport where there is a lot of empty space.

“It’s not just one thing, it’s got lots of different uses and I think this is something we are really going to need in the future.”

Cllr Eddie Coope said that he had been in discussions with private investors who could be interesting in helping to fund a project.

“There’s interest from the Chinese, who are experts in light rail, in doing something within the conurbation and it may even extend to looking at our wider rail network,” he said.

A recommendation by Cllr Anderson that further investigation work be carried out and that the council approach the Local Government Association for help in securing funding sources for the project was agreed by the panel.

Councillors also backed his suggestion of contacting Spelthorne Borough Council to find out about the process behind its plans for a light railway system connecting to Heathrow Airport.