Councillors support campaign to alter railway scheme after concerns over ‘rat-run’

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RESIDENTS are fighting plans which they believe will turn a country lane into a rat-run under a major rail project.

Network Rail had proposed building a new bridge over the East Coast Mainline near Askern as part of a plan to speed up a rail bottleneck.

It would mean the closure of a level crossing at Joan Croft Lane, in Holme.

The scheme is being planned to take slow-moving coal traffic, heading for power stations from the East Coast, off a 15-mile stretch of the East Coast Mainline.

It will involve a new viaduct built, carrying tracks over a 3km stretch of new line, which will avoid the current congestion at the junction.

Residents and ward councillors addressed Doncaster Council planning committee urging them to oppose the plans for the bridge.

They warned the move would encourage traffic to use a road which was little more than a country track to cross the railway instead of the existing level crossings.

Coun Astin White warned: “Rockley Lane would become a rat-run.

“It is an agricultural track with Tarmac on it and it will deteriorate.”

Coun Ros Jones suggested money saved on the bridge could be used for other road improvement projects in the scheme, but planning officer Richard Purcell warned there was no guarantee the Government would allocate any money saved to any other schemes in the area.

Network Rail spokesman David Moss told the hearing that even if the bridge was not built, work would still be done to improve and modernise the crossing.

The committee backed the residents’ calls for the bridge plan to be ditched, but supported the rest of the Network Rail scheme.

The council will now write to the Infrastructure Planning Commission, which will make the decision on how the scheme goes ahead, informing it of the authority’s views on the project.