REOPENING the former Boscombe railway station in Bournemouth could cost millions of pounds because of the need to provide disabled access with lifts to both tracks and to accommodate trains of 10 carriages.

Mike Holmes, the council’s head of planning and transport, warned Bournemouth and Poole economic overview panel that a similar scheme for Exeter Airport came in at £4-5 million.

Last year, the panel asked for a development brief to be prepared for the land between North Road and the Ashley Road railway bridge, including reference to the possibility of reopening the station.

But members heard that Network Rail did not consider the idea a priority. A report to the panel said: “Before being able to give a firm view... they would wish to undertake a survey to ascertain whether there is a business case for the station.

“In these circumstances, it is difficult to proceed with the preparation of a development brief when one of the key components is unknown.”

The panel asked officers to seek an answer from Network Rail over its plans for the Boscombe site, and to go ahead with the development brief if there is no response within the next six months.

Members also heard there were plans to refurbish Pokesdown Station in time for this year’s air festival and possibly rename it “Pokesdown for Boscombe”.