Fears for town over plans for rail sidings

New figures have been released from the ONS
New figures have been released from the ONS

A Buxton woman has hit out at plans to extend rail freight sidings in the town, saying the move could spell disaster for the drive to boost tourism.

Network Rail hopes the extension will allow the network to cater for longer and heavier freight trains to transport materials from Hindlow and Dowlow quarries.

Under the extension plans, which are currently awaiting statutory permissions, track would run onto adjoining land to the north and cut through an area previously used as a tip and farmland.

But the site is surrounded by residential properties and part of the disused tip is designated as a Derbyshire Local Wildlife Site.

Deborah Martin, 54, of Brown Edge Road, believes the fifteen month-long building project will seriously impact on residents’ quality of life.

She said: “This proposal will take green and farm land over an area that is visible to traffic approaching our town, cutting down trees over contaminated ground that was once a refuse tip.

“As we are trying to build a sustainable and future-proof tourism industry in recession-hit Buxton, this is very serious.

“The noise, light and dust pollution in our beautiful town would be immense. Buxton is working hard to pick itself up from a recession and develop its tourism business, which has been extremely successful over the last few years.

“Thriving tourism will be a lasting legacy but that could all be destroyed for the profit of two companies.”

In the overview to its consultation on the plans Network Rail states: “Most work will be carried out during standard construction working hours, and will be managed through agreement with High Peak Council.

“However, working hours may change subject to working requirements, to help keep our employees safe. This could mean some night time work.”

In addition to the extra track Network Rail will install a drainage system and low-level lighting within the sidings area.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “Network Rail has submitted a Transport and Works Act Order to the secretary of state for transport for which the public have 42 days to submit any objections. An environmental impact assessment is submitted along with proposed mitigation measures.

“The improvements to the sidings at Buxton will improve transport links to the quarries in the area and help reduce the number of heavy vehicles that travel on the roads in the locality. However, we take our responsibilities to the environment very seriously and we will continue to communicate with the local community on any proposed work.”

For more on the plans visit https://consultations.networkrail.co.uk/communications/buxton-sidings-scheme.