New cycleway could foil rail link plans
01 November 2006
TRANSPORT campaigners in Portishead say plans to put a cycleway
along former train tracks could threaten future plans to re-open the
railway in the town.
North Somerset Council, in partnership
with charity Sustrans, wants to divert a cyclepath so it runs close
to the railway line at Marsh Lane and Portbury Dock
Currently riders have to go across the road to rejoin
the cyclepath and this move would see the route diverted under the
railway bridges by the tracks.
But the move has been greeted
with caution by railway campaigners who say any moves to introduce a
cyclepath so close to the railway could mean future plans to run
trains into Portishead could hit the buffers.
Railway Group chairman Alan Matthews said: "Apparently these plans
to divert the cyclepath away from the road are being put forward as
a temporary measure.
"But we are very concerned that these
temporary things, in time, often become permanent.
always been in favour of cycletracks as long as they do not
interfere with railways or bridleways.
"I am concerned that
this could become a permanent feature and could, in the future,
affect the feasibility of re-opening the railway.
no way cyclists and walkers can be using a railway track as a
North Somerset Council cycling officer Jonathan Gall
said the move to divert the cyclepaths was not a permanent one and
that they would be removed if the railway was to open.
Gall said: "We are planning to consult with parish councils and
Royal Portbury Dock representatives to ensure we have an alternative
route for cyclists should the railway re-open.
cyclepaths would go alongside the tracks, but would not be a
"If the railway link was to re-open then
the land would revert back to its original use.
The issue of
the cyclepaths will be raised at a meeting of Portishead and a North
Weston Town Council next week.