LETTER: Engaging discussion over railways

Did you attend the Network Rail ‘community drop in’ session at the Source on Saturday?

It was most engaging and very relevant to Sleaford. Various town councillors were there, plus one from Lincolnshire County Council and some members of the public. Yet, I didn’t see anyone from North Kesteven District Council and wondered why not?

Network Rail ably contributed much information concerning works in progress. Mostly they concentrated upon projected ‘North-South’ upgrading relating to the ‘Avoiding Line’ situated just east of Sleaford. But they were also open to criticisms about the proposed cessation of level crossings, particularly with regard to Southgate, King Edward Street, Rauceby and Wilsford. Now clearly they would prefer to close them all, and were cautious in their statements; but they do require public acquiescence before they proceed. So, beware the lesser publicised ‘tick box questionnaire public consultation’ sessions, much beloved in certain quarters. Shamelessly these usually omit an option where contributors may select ‘none of the above’, or even suggest your own ideas.

Worries were aired as to what happens if the existing ‘Masterplan’ paymasters don’t implement their original intentions. They obviously lamented the omission of Sleaford Town Council from the ‘consultancy’ sessions feeding into the strategy.

I tendered a radical suggestion that maybe Sleaford station should be relocated in place of the existing Homebase store presently at Galley Hill. Such a scheme could incorporate an adjacent bus station and afford direct access onto the western ‘Loop Line’. It would cater for all current destinations whilst eliminating the two contentious road closures.

Surprisingly the idea had never been raised, even during council ‘Best Value’ deliberations. But after some contemplation they said it was technically feasible and with attendant signalling costs, might even prove cheaper than the superstore road bridge scheme.

What do you think about this alternative strategy?

David Birks