Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'

The original Somerset and Dorset Railway closed very controversially in 1966. It is time that decision, made in a very different world, was reversed. We now have many councillors, MPs, businesses and individuals living along the line supporting us. Even the Ministry of Transport supports our general aim. The New S&D was formed in 2009 with the aim of rebuilding as much of the route as possible, at the very least the main line from Bath (Britain's only World Heritage City) to Bournemouth (our premier seaside resort); as well as the branches to Wells, Glastonbury and Wimborne. We will achieve this through a mix of lobbying, trackbed purchase and restoration of sections of the route as they become economically viable. With Climate Change, road congestion, capacity constraints on the railways and now Peak Oil firmly on the agenda we are pushing against an open door. We already own Midford just south of Bath, and are restoring Spetisbury under license from DCC, but this is just the start. There are other established groups restoring stations and line at Midsomer Norton and Shillingstone, and the fabulous narrow gauge line near Templevcombe, the Gartell Railway.

There are now FIVE sites being actively restored on the S&D and this blog will follow what goes on at all of them!
Midford - Midsomer Norton - Gartell - Shillingstone - Spetisbury

Our Aim:

Our aim is to use a mix of lobbying, strategic track-bed purchase, fundraising and encouragement and support of groups already preserving sections of the route, as well as working with local and national government, local people, countryside groups and railway enthusiasts (of all types!) To restore sections of the route as they become viable.
Whilst the New S&D will primarily be a modern passenger and freight railway offering state of the art trains and services, we will also restore the infrastructure to the highest standards and encourage steam working and steam specials over all sections of the route, as well as work very closely with existing heritage lines established on the route.

This blog contains my personal views. Anything said here does not necessarily represent the aims or views of any of the groups currently restoring, preserving or operating trains over the Somerset and Dorset Railway!

Monday, February 28, 2011

let 'em know ...

This has come via our Planning Officer David Robbins.

I think this needs to be widely publicised.

Mendip District Council should be made aware, by as many people as possible, that Peak Oil is coming and that a transition plan is vital. The Core Strategy is their opportunity to safeguard dismantled railway lines, together with associated station sites, buildings and other lineside structures. Mendip District includes Glastonbury & Street, Polsham, Wells, West Pennard, Pylle, Evercreech, Shepton Mallet, Masbury, Binegar and Chilcompton - to name just the S&D stations.

The Council have made a start - in Policy DP12: Safeguarding Corridors for Sustainable Travel - but their wording remains very defensive and manages to avoid mentioning the S&D lines at all!

Mendip Local Development Framework

DRAFT CORE STRATEGY (Preferred Options Stage)

I am writing to inform you of the launch of our consultation period on the new planning strategy for Mendip District. Over the last two or three years various consultation activities and study work has been undertaken and we are now able to publish a full draft of the Local Development Framework Core Strategy for public views. The consultation period for the document runs for 6 weeks from 17th February to 31st March 2011.

You can access all the material via this Time to Plan page or via any good search engine by typing in “Mendip Time to Plan”

A brief summary of the proposals is available in our information leaflet which is being delivered to every household in Mendip.

This is an important document in that it sets out the amount of new development that the area will accommodate in the period to 2026, broadly where it will go, key goals for the district’s five main towns and a range of policies to manage all types of development. It responds to the evolving localism agenda being rolled out from Government and regional housing targets have been dispensed with, replaced by locally evidenced housing requirements.

This consultation period offers an opportunity to see, in full, a draft of the proposed strategy and for people from all walks of life, whether residents, workers, visitors or potential investors to provide us with views about the new proposals. Where appropriate we would also like your views on how the proposals in the document could be refined bearing in mind the issues we have to tackle and for any proposals to be soundly justified. At this stage no decisions are being made and any views you offer will inform what the final Core Strategy contains. We intend to publish a final draft in the autumn of 2011. Unresolved issues remaining after that publication will then be formally examined by a Planning Inspector during 2012 prior to any decision by the council to adopt the strategy.

During this consultation period we will also be inviting:
submission of further development sites within and around the Mendip towns and a defined list of villages for an update to our Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA).
specific comments in relation to a new rural affordable housing approach which the council wants to urgently adopt as an interim policy to stimulate more affordable homes for local people.
Specific comments on a review of Special Landscape Features in the district. The Local Plan identified a number of landscape features across the district which were valued as distinctive local landmarks or scenes. Previous consultation indicated that these should benefit from ongoing protection in the Local Development Framework. The Assessment of Special Landscape Features reviews these and considers new areas for designation.

The draft Core Strategy and a wide range of background studies, reports of consultation and explanatory papers will be available on the council website - http://www.mendip.gov.uk/ - via the “Time to Plan” links.

Copies of the documents will also be available at the Council Access Points in Frome, Glastonbury, Shepton Mallet, Street and Wells. The Planning Policy team will also be holding a number of drop in style sessions for people to come and discuss issues, ask questions and generally become better informed about what is proposed. Details of where you can view documents and meet officers are set out below.

We regret that, in the current straightened times, hard copies of the Core Strategy can only be made available at a cost of £10 each reflecting our printing costs. Other documents will also attract a similar charge.

Comments can be made until midnight on 31st March 2011 and given the need to progress work we will not be able to consider responses received after that date.

To respond you can:

complete the Online Survey at http://www.mendip.gov.uk/ via the ‘Time to Plan’ link
download a response form, complete it and return it to us via post or e-mail
write to us directly making reference to the pages and policies you are commenting on at orgdev@mendip.gov.uk or at Mendip District Council, Cannards Grave Road, Shepton Mallet BA4 5BT.

If you have any questions, please e-mail us at orgdev@mendip.gov.uk or call Mendip District Council on 01749 648999 and ask to speak to a member of the planning policy team.

We look forward to your interest in this work.

John Meeker
Planning Policy Team Leader
Organisational Development Group

Cannards Grave Road, Shepton Mallet, Somerset. BA4 5BT

( 01749 648999 (Customer Services)

Think of the environment...please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to.


Anonymous said...

Any more news on Midford?


will said...

Im pleased to see all remaining track bed labelled "Safeguarded Corridors for Sustainable Transport" in the information leaflet, although there is no mention of what this means (still looking).

Sunshiner said...

Just the steady clearing continuing - have new pics etc to post hopefully over the next few days.

yamfaz said...

There is a great piece in Steam Railway about putting live steam at all the current restoration sites along the line in 2016. I think Steve has been very busy or someone at Steam Railway is a very good friend of the S&D!!

Sunshiner said...

No, it wasn't me! This is entirely down to Steam Railway and possibly some of the other groups along the line - first I heard about it was when Steam Railway contacted me, but obviously we'll be fully supporting this, hopefully with at least two sites in 2016!

Anonymous said...

Sounds good to me, perhaps something small?