Highways England Historical Railways Estate is responsible for bridges, abutments, tunnels, cuttings, viaducts etc. associated with closed railway lines. They are proposing to infill two bridges on the former Cornhill branch. One is at Rugley and and the other at Mossyford.
The possibility of future development is not a valid reason to object to such proposals, but we think the applicant should be aware of the strength of local feeling that the potential use of the former railway as a recreational route should not be compromised. Such a development would be in accordance with the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan policies TRA1 and TRA2, and with community action proposals TRA CAP1 and TRA CAP2.
Alnwick is currently the only market town in Northumberland not located on the National CycleNetwork, but the recent connection along the Aln Valley Railway has increased the potential for further development, including an enhancement to the Sustrans National Cycle Network by starting to provide the only East-West cycle route between Ponteland and the Scottish border.
The former Cornhill Line is already well used as an ad hoc walking route and opening up the next section would also release further recreational opportunities, in accordance with the Government’s pronouncements during the Covid19 crisis.
Any changes now should avoid compromising the future provision of a pedestrian and cycle route.
In addition, the junction at Mossyford is a known accident blackspot, and the proposals do not take advantage of this opportunity to improve visibility at the junction now. There may also be a need to provide a safe crossing point for pedestrians and cyclists in future.