Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
sturminster newton and all that
There's some controversy over the proposal to build 14 new houses on S&D trackbed at Sturminster Newton. The message board's been addressing this.
Nick Howes put the current situation very succinctly.
[C]ouncils don't consider it because they dont believe anyone would have the money or justification to do it. The railway is just a bygone scar in the landscape to these people, just like the fragmented canal beds and roman roads, nothing more, nothing less. They see the modern network struggling and run down with £30 billion subsidy so they can't possibly see anyone with any clout or money knocking on the door to their town, simple as that. This is the cold hard pre peak oil reality that we are up against. Its a loss making brown field site and they need money to fuel their short term local budgets and political aims. Everything is short term and no-one looks ahead and they have a housing quota target to fulfill as well.
My reply -
I couldn't have put it better myself.
Things are gradually changing. I've an appointment this afternoon with a local development agency who approached me through Transition. Bristol is the only city in the UK with a Peak Oil Task Force set up by the city council. Awareness is slowly developing. In ten years time all we're saying now will just be the generally accepted concensus.
Too many rail types live in the present or, worse still, the past. They think the rules that apply now will for some reason apply in the future. They clearly won't. There will be a huge modal shift from road to rail simply because rail is so much more flexible, and economic, in energy inputs. This won't so much be a conscious change but one forced on us by market forces.
The New S&D is designed to flourish in the future. At the moment it is still something of an anachronism. This is the whole point - we will move into a future of ever more opening doors. But we need to organise now to steal a pitch on our rivals, ie all the other groups pressing for their lines to be restored.
The more of us that get involved in the New S&D the quicker this will happen.
We don't need to worry about some puny housing development. When push comes to shove the railway will get priority and all other considerations will be ignored. That's the reality of the future.
In a couple of years, when we are ready, we'll approach everybody on the route - landowners, councils etc - and present them with our plans. Until then all we can do is build the structure of the New S&D.