Public inquiry into Rother Valley Railway plans delayed to next year

Bexhill and Battle MP, Huw Merriman with the Rother Valley Railway team at Robertsbridge in October 2017. SUS-170510-123637001
Bexhill and Battle MP, Huw Merriman with the Rother Valley Railway team at Robertsbridge in October 2017. SUS-170510-123637001

A group wanting to restore a section of heritage railway line between Bodiam and Robertsbridge, has welcomed the Transport Secretary’s decision to delay the pending public inquiry into the proposals.

Rother Valley Railway (RVR) said the postponement followed a request from the group for a delay to the hearing, to enable additional information about the line’s impact on road traffic to be gathered and assessed.

The public inquiry will now take place in early 2020 rather than June this year.

Gardner Crawley, RVR chairman, said: “Although we have managed to satisfy many of the statutory consultees with regards any concerns they may have had about our proposals, Highways England and the Office of Rail and Road have requested additional studies be carried out. These are to better understand what effect a level crossing, which would only operate during off-peak hours, would have on the A21.

“We are happy to carry out these additional studies and look forward to reassuring these consultees that it will be possible to reinstate the full length of the railway between Tenterden and Robertsbridge, with all the benefits that would bring, without any unduly adverse effects.”

Last May, Hastings and Rye MP, Amber Rudd, spoke out against RVR’s plans for a level crossing on the A21. She said there were ‘safer and more effective ways to re-establish a transport link between Robertsbridge and Bodiam which should be explored’.

She wrote to Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling to raise her concerns and opposition regarding building further level crossings on the A21.

In March 2017, Rother District Council (RDC) granted planning permission for the scheme, subject to the Transport Secretary’s approval.

The railway currently runs from Tenterden to Bodiam, via Northiam.

Visit www.rvr.org.uk for more on the railway.

Read more:

MPs voice their views on Rother Valley Railway plans.

Transport charity backs controversial rail plans.

Full steam ahead for railway plans following councillors’ approval.