L&B gets ap­proval for ex­ten­sion

Unan­i­mous ap­proval for L&B plan­ning applications will al­low cre­ation of a 5½-mile rail­way.

Steam Railway (UK) - - Contents -

The Lyn­ton & Barn­sta­ple will be­come a some­where-to­some­where rail­way for the first time since it closed in 1935, af­ter it was granted plan­ning per­mis­sion to ex­tend to Black­moor. The long-awaited go-ahead was given at an Ex­moor Na­tional Park Au­thor­ity plan­ning meet­ing on March 6, where four of the L&B’s five plan­ning applications were given unan­i­mous ap­proval. Th­ese in­clude re­in­stat­ing the rail­way be­tween the cur­rent ter­mi­nus at Killing­ton Lane and Black­moor, the con­struc­tion of a new en­gi­neer­ing cen­tre, rolling stock shed and sid­ings, and ex­panded car park at Black­moor, and de­mol­ish­ing the 1987-built bun­ga­low on the trackbed at Par­ra­combe Halt. How­ever, ENPA re­jected the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion to re­place the bun­ga­low with two semi-de­tached houses; one as af­ford­able hous­ing, and the other for rail­way use. The per­mis­sion comes nearly two years af­ter North Devon Coun­cil ap­proved the rail­way’s plans to ex­tend the line from Black­moor to Wist­land­pound in June 2016 (see SR456), and con­vert the sta­tion build­ing into a com­bined sta­tion/restaurant. The pro­posed 5½-mile rail­way, which al­ready wel­comes nearly 50,000 pas­sen­gers an­nu­ally, is fore­cast to cre­ate 24 full-time jobs and is ex­pected to gen­er­ate an ad­di­tional £62 mil­lion for the lo­cal econ­omy dur­ing the first ten years of con­struc­tion and op­er­a­tion. L&B Press Of­fi­cer Tony Ni­chol­son says: “The en­gi­neer­ing de­sign work for the next phase is al­ready well un­der way, in­clud­ing the de­sign of those bridges that have been de­mol­ished and the re­con­struc­tion of Par­ra­combe Bank with a cul­vert larger than a dou­bledecker bus to al­low the River Hed­don to flow un­ob­structed un­der the em­bank­ment. This will en­sure that the bank can not be breached again as it was at the time of the Lyn­mouth flood in 1952. “When this sec­tion of the rail­way has been re­stored, the trust in­tends to re­build the line right through to Lyn­ton and back to Barn­sta­ple, all of which is sup­ported in the two plan­ning au­thor­i­ties’ Lo­cal Plans for the area. “The re­con­struc­tion phase that the ENPA has ap­proved in­cludes a shut­tle bus ser­vice from Woody Bay to Lyn­ton un­til the rail­way re­turns there. Vis­i­tors will be able to park their cars at Black­moor Gate on the edge of Ex­moor Na­tional Park and ride through the park it­self with­out dis­turb­ing the very beauty and tran­quil­lity they have come to en­joy.” Some ob­jec­tors re­main im­pla­ca­bly op­posed to the rail­way’s re­in­state­ment. Par­ra­combe res­i­dent Louise Grob re­port­edly telling the au­thor­ity mem­bers: “It’s en­vi­ron­men­tal van­dal­ism. We will fight this at ev­ery stage and we will win. Mean­while, we will drag the Ex­moor Na­tional Park and its mem­bers through the mud.”

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