Steam Railway (UK) - - News -

Lo­cal coun­cil­lors have unan­i­mously ap­proved the Rother Val­ley Rail­way’s plans to re­con­nect the Kent & East Sus­sex Rail­way to the main line at Roberts­bridge. At a meet­ing on March 16, all 15 mem­bers of the Rother District Coun­cil (RDC) Plan­ning Com­mit­tee voted for the RVR’s ap­pli­ca­tion to re­in­state the miss­ing two miles of the rail­way, be­tween Northbridge Street and Junc­tion Road. This will fill the gap be­tween the two sec­tions al­ready laid east­wards from Roberts­bridge and west from Bo­diam. When com­plete, the line will be op­er­ated by the KESR - which will then be 13½ miles long in to­tal, from Ten­ter­den to Roberts­bridge. Plan­ning ap­proval al­lows the RVR to ap­ply to Par­lia­ment for a Trans­port & Works Act Or­der (TWAO), giv­ing statu­tory pow­ers to re­build the line. RVR Press Of­fi­cer Mark Yonge com­mented: “The unan­i­mous ap­proval shows the strength of sup­port for the project.” Some lo­cals have ex­pressed concerns regarding the planned level cross­ing over the A21 by­pass, and in­creased park­ing in Roberts­bridge it­self. RVR Chair­man Gard­ner Crawley said: “Their fears will be ad­dressed as the scheme pro­gresses and it is to be hoped that the eco­nomic ben­e­fits of the scheme will be­come ap­par­ent. “The re­main­ing landown­ers have ad­di­tion­ally ex­pressed con­cern, and the RVR fully ap­pre­ci­ates that a rail­way cross­ing their farms rep­re­sents some dis­rup­tion. The RVR has met with the three landown­ers and will con­tinue to en­gage with them with a view to ac­quir­ing the orig­i­nal trackbed by agree­ment. “All of this work is fi­nanced by pri­vate bene­fac­tors, with­out re­course to pub­lic funds. In­de­pen­dent stud­ies have shown that the re­in­state­ment of the RVR will bring eco­nomic ben­e­fits in ex­cess of £2 mil­lion a year to the area. “To date, the RVR has spent over £3m in im­ple­ment­ing the cri­te­ria of Rother District Coun­cil’s Pol­icy EM8 and looks for­ward to the coun­cil’s con­tin­u­ing sup­port to com­plete the project.” The main line con­nec­tion at Roberts­bridge was of­fi­cially opened by Net­work Rail Chair­man Sir Peter Hendy on De­cem­ber 6 2016 (SR462).

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