Councils claim rail plan will hit buffers

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Parish councils along the proposed route of the £45 million railway line have called for serious changes to the scheme outlined so far.

The railway plan, also known as the Amber Valley Regeneration Project proposes to run through Ripley, Denby, Kilburn and Coxbench on its way to Little Eaton.

Town and parish councillors from all of the towns and villages concerned attended a meeting to discuss the plans with developers Michael Rogen, 22, and Daniel Baggaley, 20. The pair are currently seeking a new business partner for the venture after severing ties with the consultant engineering company CES Group.

Also present at the meeting was Amber Valley Borough Council’s chief planning officer Derek Stafford.

Representing Ripley Town Council at the meeting, Cllr Steve Freeborn said their was little support for the plans because of the difficulty the scheme would have in getting planning permission.

He claimed their would be difficulties laying track beds over the former Cinderhill opencast mine between Denby and Marehay as the ground there was potentially toxic.

He added: “I have to say the two young men involved in the project are very brave. They are set on putting through a proposal that not one council supports in any way shape or form.”

Chairman of Kilburn Parish Council, Cllr Eric Hetherington claimed a proposed level crossing over the main A609 road in the village would create major traffic tailbacks. He said: “The line was last used 12 years ago for the freight trains taking coal to and from an opencast mine. They used to run just twice a day and it created problems then. If that level crossing is to be closing regularly it will cause chaos along that road.”

Denby Parish Council chairman Cllr Mick Clare was concerned for properties on Station Road in the village. No planning application has been submitted yet for the rail project.

The line proposes to run along an old track bed which crosses the road. And a planning application has been approved by Amber Valley Borough Council for a home to be built directly on top of the old track beds there.

Cllr Clare said: “Prior to the meeting the parish council had concerns as a lot of people have developed properties along the line since it was last used.

“The two young men put a good case forward, but I think they have not really given it a great deal of thought as regards the implications. Hopefully after that meeting they have gone away with a better understanding of what they are dealing with.”