On the right track . . .

Back­ing for £3.5m trans­for­ma­tion of old rail­way line

The Scarborough News - - FRONT PAGE - by Martina Moscariello martina.moscariello@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @m__­moscariello

An am­bi­tious £3.5m plan to trans­form the for­mer Scar­bor­ough to Whitby rail track into a state-ofthe-art amenity for cy­clists and walk­ers has been given wide­spread back­ing fol­low­ing two pub­lic meet­ings. The draft Cin­der Track Restora­tion Plan is the cul­mi­na­tion of years of plan­ning by Scar­bor­ough Bor­ough Coun­cil, which owns the 21-mile stretch.

The rail line, opened in 1885, was closed in 1965 un­der the Beech­ing Re­view and five years later it was bought by the lo­cal au­thor­ity with the aim of cre­at­ing a long-dis­tance recre­ational trail.

Af­ter years of ne­glect, the coun­cil has pro­duced a re­port con­tain­ing de­tails of its restora­tion plans which has now been pub­lished for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

Cllr Hazel Lynskey, chair­man of the coun­cil’s Cin­der Track Task Group, an­nounced that a se­ries of meet­ings would be held in the parishes on the route to show res­i­dents what the plans are and lis­ten to their feed­back.

She said: “We have had an ex­cel­lent re­sponse in terms of en­thu­si­as­tic sup­port and num­bers of or­gan­i­sa­tions and res­i­dents keen to see the track’s restora­tion be­come a re­al­ity.

“We are at a cross­roads when it comes to the track and the sta­tus quo is not an op­tion. To leave the track as it is, it will grad­u­ally erode fur­ther and be­come more over­grown. In­vest­ment in it is nec­es­sary to pre­serve this val­ued re­source for

years to come.” The draft restora­tion plan in­cludes a pro­posal to keep the cur­rent track width, in­tro­duce pass­ing places at nar­row points, and in­stall chi­canes and gates where there is the po­ten­tial for speed­ing cy­clists. Tar­mac would be used in cer­tain lo­ca­tions, but none in ru­ral ar­eas where there is no ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic.

Paul Thomp­son, the coun­cil of­fi­cer with re­spon­si­bil­ity for the pro­duc­tion of the plan, said: “The track has suf­fered from lack of main­te­nance for a num­ber of years and is now in a poor con­di­tion along most of its length. The drainage along­side the track is largely blocked and the sur­face has eroded to such an ex­tent that in a num­ber of places the track in it­self has be­come the drain, fur­ther ex­ac­er­bat­ing the ero­sion prob­lem.” He added: “The track presents an op­por­tu­nity which should not be missed,” adding that it is an im­por­tant wildlife cor­ri­dor, a big op­por­tu­nity to en­cour­age cy­cling and walk­ing and an as­set to boost the coastal econ­omy.

Al­though the track is owned by the coun­cil, the Lar­pool Viaduct be­longs to na­tional cy­cling char­ity Sus­trans.

Scar­bor­ough Coun­cil had ini­tially con­sid­ered hand­ing over the man­age­ment of the track to Sus­trans. How­ever, somepeo­ple feared that the char­ity’s own restora­tion plan was too “dras­tic” and that, if ap­proved, the na­ture of the track would have changed “dra­mat­i­cally”.

In sum­mer 2017, over 1,400 peo­ple signed a pe­ti­tion to ask the coun­cil to re­ject Sus­trans’ pro­pos­als, which would have seen a hard, sealed sur­face in­stalled on the path and the re­moval of trees and verges.

A spokesper­son for the or- gan­i­sa­tion said: “We’re pleased the coun­cil is con­tin­u­ing to de­velop a plan for the Cin­der Track and we’ve made some com­ments on it.

“As we stated in the plan we were pro­duc­ing, this fan­tas­tic ac­tive travel re­source is ur­gently in need of sig­nif­i­cant and sus­tained in­vest­ment, and we want to work in part­ner­ship with the coun­cil and oth­ers like the Na­tional Park and the Na­tional Trust to de­liver ef­fec­tive im­prove­ments for the ben­e­fit of lo­cal res­i­dents and a sus­tain­able fu­ture for the York­shire Coast econ­omy.”

The fi­nal ver­sion of the restora­tion plan, which also in­volves the set-up of a £70,000 an­nual bud­get for main­te­nance works, is to go be­fore the coun­cil’s Cabi­net next month.

The pro­pos­als will then be dis­cussed by full coun­cil in Jan­uary prior to a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion be­ing sub­mit­ted.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.