Cinder Track: Expansion of old railway line between Scarborough and Whitby delayed due to 'serious concerns'

Plans to expand and resurface a part of the Cinder Track have been delayed after Scarborough and Whitby councillors raised ‘serious concerns’ about accessibility.

A plan to resurface and widen a 2.3km stretch of the former railway line has been deferred by councillors who said the plans did not appear to properly take into account disabled access. The stretch of track between Burniston and Cloughton is also set to receive new benches, picnic tables, way finders at entry points, and bins.

But councillors on the Scarborough and Whitby area planning committee noted that some of the entry points seemed to only have steps and “are no good for disabled access”. A planning report presented to the committee made no mention of disabled access and planning officers said they did not have any additional information.

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Coun Clive Pearson said: “Obviously this is going to be quite an expensive project, so have any arrangements been made for disabled access, because what we see here are steps, which aren’t any good for disabled access. They’re also very dangerous for equine access, so will all those things be sorted out?

The Cinder Track between Whitby and ScarboroughThe Cinder Track between Whitby and Scarborough
The Cinder Track between Whitby and Scarborough

A council planning officer told the meeting, which was held on April 11: “I don’t really have an answer to that. All I could say is that the resurfacing would make it more accessible for all users.”

A £700,000 grant from Sustrans is to fund the upgrades to the Cinder Track which currently runs between Scarborough and Whitby. In recent years, the former railway track has faced several challenges, including limited accessibility and durability issues with its current surface, according to the council.

The chair of the committee, Coun Phil Trumper, said: “I think accessibility is key for everybody. A lot of money will be spent on this and we need to make sure everyone can use it. ”

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Coun Heather Phillips added: “It is possibly one of the worst places to access, you have to go across the road, through a very narrow section, over a small bridge, and down some steps. I don’t know how you’re going to deal with that but I’m 100 per cent behind accessibility because we have to build for all of our local residents.

“A pushchair you can maybe get down two or three steps, but I don’t know too many horses or motorised scooters that could manage that.”

Another council officer said they could “not provide the information regarding wheelchair accessibility”.

He added: “Members can defer the decision and we can try and find out whether issues such as wheelchair accessibility have been addressed. I suspect they have but just have not been presented as part of the application.”

Councillors voted unanimously to defer the plan until they received more information about how accessibility would be taken into account.

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