Network Rail fence off stretch of disused line stretch of disused line

 

Evening Post 14 July 2005

 

A SIX‑foot‑high steel security fence has been put up with no notice by a stretch of disused rail line in Portishead that campaigners have been clearing.

 

The fence, at Quay’s Avenue, was completed on Tuesday and campaigners fear it was put up to stop them clearing brambles from the overgrown line as part of the campaign to reopen the rail link to Bristol.

 

The land is owned by the British Railways Board, a subsidiary of Network Rail, and they say the fence is routine maintenance, not a ploy to stop the campaigners clearing the line.

 

Network Rail spokesman Justine Hawkins said: “The activity at Quays Avenue close to Portishead is no more than ongoing maintenance of our land.”

 

But Councillor David Pasley, who has been organising the volunteers clearing the line, said he thinks it is more than a coincidence that the fence has gone up now. He said: "There hasn't been a fence here for at least 15 to 20 years, so why now? I suspect they have been put up to it by someone who doesn’t want to see the line reopened."

 

Cllr Pasley said he had contacted North Somerset Council's planning enforcement body to see if it is legal for the British Railways Board to put the fence up without planning permission.

 

He also said the fence wouldn't stop campaigners from carrying on with the track clearing on other parts of the track.

He said: "Far from putting us off our work this has actu­ally made us more determined to complete it."