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York to Beverley rail line campaigners in protest
CAMPAIGNERS calling for the reopening of a rail line between York and Beverley will stage a protest outside the headquarters of the council they claim could scupper their hopes.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council meets on January 8 to discuss the authority’s draft Local Plan, outlining how the region will be redeveloped up to 2029 and proposing to open up the former rail route for housing.
But the Minsters’ Rail Campaign said this would “kill off” any prospect of the line being revived, and has asked supporters to join a demonstration outside the council’s Beverley HQ ahead of the meeting. Supporters said the council was going back on a 2005 decision that reopening the line was feasible, though now saying it could not be delivered by 2029.
George McManus, the campaign’s chairman, said: “We set the campaign up in 2001 and have been making steady progress ever since.
“On the back of its own study that reopening the line was feasible, the council decided to protect the route. If they now decide to open it to development, reopening it will become hideously expensive.”
Mr McManus said similar rural lines were being reopened elsewhere, saying: “It’s baffling that the council would now wish to remove the York-Beverley route’s protected status. All we are asking is that the status quo is maintained and we have further discussions. If we miss this golden opportunity, future generations will rue this short-sighted decision – the demonstration on January 8 really is our last chance.”
John Skidmore, the council’s interim director of corporate strategy and commissioning, said Government guidelines mean Local Plans could only include schemes which were “deliverable” during their timespan, and the “high level” of funding needed meant the authority did not believe the rail line would be possible in this time.
He said: “The council does, however, remain broadly supportive of reopening the line. The council cannot outline a protected route for the railway proposal, as the addition of “undeliverable” items could see the plan found unsound when submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government next spring.”
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