The amended plans for the old railway line between Scarborough and Whitby are a welcome change from the earlier proposal by Sustrans.
The Sustrans plan was to increase the appeal of the track to, largely, cyclists, by felling a vast number of trees along its 21.5 miles, widening the track and covering it in a ‘cyclist friendly’ surface.
Their plans took virtually no account of the remoteness, tranquillity and wildness that most of the track has become and both Sustrans and Scarborough Borough Council seemed to have been blindsided by the weight of opposition to them.
This opposition was successfully led by Heather Dale and a small number of dedicated campaigners and there was massive local support for the petition, and opposition from almost all of the parish councils along the route.
But the job is not yet done.
The revised plans take more account of the needs of walkers and horse riders.
The benefits of walking or cycling along the line, specifically because you are attracted to its unique peacefulness and tranquillity are paramount.
Today’s speed cycling enthusiasts will be tomorrow’s older generation and will, I am sure, look back on our attempt to preserve the natural beauty and ecology of the line as a triumph of common sense over the overriding planning test of ‘economic benefit’ and commercialisation that amounts to nothing more than vandalism.
All of the statutory agencies involved in this must now work together to ensure that the Sustrans plans for the desecration of this natural beauty are firmly rejected and any future development is both overseen and implemented in a sensitive way, with maintenance being the overriding aim.
The commitment to extending the membership of the Management Committee to include members of the local community is a good start.