Railway could be reopened by stealth - fear residents

By Steve Hayes 30/03 Updated: 30/03 09:11

Buy photos » Suzanne Clutterbuck campaign co-ordinator and fellow campaigners on the Greenway which could soon see a freight railway line running down the side of it. Picture by Jon Mullis 12.012.053.strat.jm1 (www.buyphotos247.com)

A CONCERNED group of residents fear a section of railway near their homes could be reopened 'by stealth' - plaguing their lives with noise and proving an eyesore.

The possibility of reopening of the track extending south from Stratford station through Long Marston and Honeybourne is currently being looked into by the authorities after £70,000 was raised to complete a feasibility study.

And residents who live near the track are concerned Stratford District Council's provisional backing for the plans in its long-term development plan - subject to the study showing the re-opening is viable - means they could be forced through.

They are concerned people are not fully aware of what this could mean for the line - as plans being considered include reinstating passenger trains and even overnight freight trains.

Suzanne Clutterbuck, who lives in nearby Wetherby Way, has posted hundreds of leaflets to homes in the area in a bid to make people aware.

She said: "We are very worried this could just be brought in by stealth.

"In the Core Strategy document the council says subject to an up-to-date assessment it would support the re-opening of the line.

"We are concerned this could mean it is automatically included within the Core Strategy, making it very difficult for local people to object at a later date."

And Ms Clutterbuck said many people were unaware of the scale of what was being considered for the track, which was last in use in 1976.

She added: "Earlier proposals for a publicised lesser scheme mean some people in the Stratford area are under the mistaken impression a new train line would be mainly underground, light gauge, infrequent passenger, steam only and would not affect them.

"The impact of this line could be widespread, would be a major change for Stratford and should not be underestimated.

"It could be a real ugly blight on the area.

"We are trying to make people aware and would encourage them to have their say via the Draft Core Strategy consultation."

A spokesperson for Stratford District Council insisted it had not yet expressed support for the project and would not be in a position to do so until the feasibility study was completed.

The feasibility study looking into the re-opening of the line is set to be completed later this year.

Suzanne Clutterbuck campaign co-ordinator and fellow campaigners on the Greenway which could soon see a freight railway line running down the side of it. Picture by Jon Mullis 12.012.053.strat.jm1 (www.buyphotos247.com)

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