'Tourist attraction' bid for old rail line

SCARBOROUGH'S old railway line could be transformed into a tourist attraction if sufficient funding is secured.

The council is to work with the Friends of the Old Railway in a bid to improve the line’s quality and increase in use.

Some funding from the Big Lottery Fund has already been secured but more is needed.

The 20-mile line between Scarborough and Whitby was closed when it fell victim to the “Beeching axe” in 1965, and is popular with walkers and cyclists.

Speaking at a council cabinet meeting, Cllr Brian O Flynn, said: “This is one that we can sell to the world.”

He said the railway line now was a “disgrace”.

Cllr O’ Flynn added: “We need to have a scheme on the shelf so that we are ready if the lottery funding comes forward.”

Cabinet members agreed that capital funding should increase from 50,000 to 61,500 to ensure the project could be completed, subject to all external funding being secured.

In a report, parks development officer Tom Mutton, said: “The old railway line is a valuable open space and off-road transport corridor that has great potential for improvement in quality and increase in use.

“During 2008 the Friends of the Old Railway developed another improvement scheme called Connecting Communities. This project is valued at 61,500 and comprises access improvements at Safe Ways Park and Cross Lane bridge, seating, litter bins, signage, artwork and a leaflet for the line.

“The improvement of the old railway line is also seen as a key part of Scarborough’s Urban Renaissance. As part of its involvement with this initiative, Urban Renaissance is currently facilitating a study of the line by architecture students from the University of Sheffield. This study will provide an analysis of the line, its condition and improvement potential and provide the foundations for the comprehensive improvement plan.”

This plan, and a further extension of it, will be used to develop further funding bids.

He added: “To pre-empt this improvement plan, the council has made a bid to the Local Transport Plan for 2009/10. The total cost of this bid is 320,000 and includes lighting the urban section of the line, widening the path at Gallows Close, and resurfacing the section from Scalby to Burniston.”