New platform plans attract mixed views from council
PARISH councillors are divided on whether to support plans to bring trains back to Belford, due to fears over the effect it could have on local facilities.
Belford Parish Council had written to members at North Sunderland to request a letter of support for the final push to install a platform in the village.
But while some members were very much in favour of improving the area’s transport links, others were worried that a new station in Belford could have a detrimental effect on the station at Chathill.
Coun David Donaldson said he was worried that it could lead to the end of the facilities at Chathill.
But Coun Tom Orrin said: “It would have no effect on Chathill. Trains already go in (to Belford) and they will just stop at the platform.”
He also pointed out that while there are no connecting buses at Chathill, there would be at Belford, leading to a bus-meets-train service as at Alnmouth.
“No one expected Alnmouth to be as busy as it is,” he added. “It’s one of this area’s greatest successes.”
Coun Donaldson replied that there was no guarantee Chathill would not be affected.
Support for the Belford platform was carried by a single vote, with four members in favour of the plans.
Geoff O’Connell, chairman of the Belford Rail Users’ Group, has been pushing to bring train services back to Belford for around 13 years.
The track on the outskirts of the village is used as a turning point for trains on the Newcastle to Chathill service but there is no platform.
In 2010, Northumberand County Council’s executive gave the green light to a £1.5m package from the Department for Transport. The Belford scheme is now through to the fourth round of funding applications to the government.
Parish councillors were also tolf that £20,000 has been allocated for signage and road markings between Seahouses and the A1. Gateway to the Farnes signs have been suggested.
Another £150,000 is earmarked for phase two of the footpath between Seahouses and Bamburgh.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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