While Ashington residents welcome the reopening of the railway, residents have expressed their concerns about a proposed underpass near Darnley Road and Featherwood Drive.
Ashington town and county councillor Caroline Ball arranged an online meeting attended by 33 residents and representatives including the Leader of the Labour Party in Northumberland Scott Dickinson after a number of concerned people contacted her.
Caroline said: “I organised the meeting with Network Rail and Northumberland County Council as so many residents contacted me with concerns after a notice appeared on lampposts locally.
“This really isn’t good enough communication for a scheme of this size. Everyone I have spoken to is 100 pert cent for the railway returning to Ashington but the underpass is not wanted near Darnley Road and many feel uneasy about the proposed crossing. Local residents are worried about anti-social behaviour, crime and the safety for women and vulnerable adults using the underpass.
Resident Stan Perkins said: “I will be forced to move from my cottage if it goes ahead. We already have anti social behaviour on the line and had a few fires in the past few weeks.”
Nicola Tait spoke with passion on behalf of her parents Izzy and Gordon who live very close to the proposed location. She failed to understand how a team based in London could make these decisions when they have probably never heard of Ashington never mind visited the proposed location. Nicola said her parents have always felt safe living in their cottage, but are worried about the impact on elderly and vulnerable residents in the area.
Cheryl Gibb, a local mother, has raised concerns and objected to the Department of Transport about the underpass as she lives near the entrance of the proposed location and has already seen an increase in anti-social behaviour. She thought there was no logical reason why this crossing can not be closed and people use Green Lane or Wansbeck Square both within a short walk in either direction.
The application for planning permission will be submitted in the coming months and all details can be viewed on Northumberland County Council website.