Councillors told not to slam door on rail link

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COUNCILLORS are being warned of the “cataclysmic consequences” of a “short-sighted” decision which could prevent the reopening of the Hull to York railway line.

For the last decade, campaigners have been battling to reopen the line, which was closed by Beeching in 1965.

But documents setting out a planning blueprint for the East Riding until 2029, states there is “no prospect” of finding the funding needed – costed at £240m in a 2005 feasibility study.

The chairman of the Minsters’ Rail Campaign, George McManus, will be asking East Riding councillors to continue to protect the route when they consider the Local Plan at a meeting at County Hall next Wednesday, as set out in 2005, and aspire to deliver its reopening by 2029.

Mr McManus said: “All we are asking for is the status quo and to keep the door open, not slam it shut.

“The East Riding population is growing, 24,000 new homes will be built. The infrastructure must be in place if we are to accommodate this expansion.”

However, Coun Symon Fraser, a member of the council’s cabinet, said it was “pie in the sky” and claimed the A1079, which connects Hull to York, was “absolutely fine” most of the time outside peak hours.

He said if transport funds were available they would look at improvements to junctions and more stretches of dual carriageway.

He added: “If you are being honest there is no money within the timescale of the local plan. It doesn’t appear on any of the strategic rail infrastructure documents that have ever been published by rail operators.

“It is pie in the sky.

“If there was suddenly money available then you would reassess a route which may not be the existing one, but one you would assess the one that would best serve the current needs of the community and not needs from the early to mid 19th century.”