CAMPAIGNERS whose hopes of securing the revival of a rail line between York and Hull hang in the balance are to call on councillors to leave the door open for its reopening.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s draft Local Plan, mapping the development of the region up to 2029, will be discussed by the authority next week, with officials saying some of the land which would be used for the railway should be earmarked for new homes.
The Minsters’ Rail Campaign, which wants the route between the two cities via Beverley to be brought back into use after it was axed in the mid-1960s, said this would be “short-sighted” as new transport infrastructure will be needed to cope with population growth.
Its chairman, George McManus, has tabled a question at next Wednesday’s meeting asking councillors to agree the scheme could be delivered by 2029 if funding becomes available.
The council has said the expected cost of the line – put at £240 million in a 2005 feasibility study – meant it would not be possible during the plan’s timeframe, and only “deliverable” projects can be included in the document under Government guidelines. The campaigners will hold a demonstration outside County Hall in Beverley ahead of the council meeting.
“All we are asking for is for the status quo to be maintained and the route not to be developed under the Local Plan,” said Mr McManus. “If funding becomes available before 2029, we will have a feasible route for the line.
“There are development pressures, especially at some of the sites identified for stations, but if this land is built on and funding then emerges, the feasibility aspect of this scheme will have been lost.”
Mr McManus said similar rail schemes in Scotland and between Oxford and Bedfordshire were being progressed or had received funding, while local authorities in Sussex and Devon had protected proposed rail routes from development.
The council has said it is “broadly supportive” of the line but cannot include it in the Local Plan as the document may then be deemed “unsound” when it goes before a Government planning inspector in spring, due to uncertainty about whether the line can be built by 2029.