Railway path should go ahead
9:01am Thursday 10th October 2013 in Letters
I certainly hope that it isn't too late for the Railway Path to go ahead. I am dismayed by the prejudice and fears that are being stirred up by the very negative campaigning of those opposed to the improvement to the surface of the railway walk. In particular they have targetted those who use it for cycling. Some of the comments at the public meeting and on their website make the Daily Mail look positively decent. Comments at the open meeting suggested that it was OK to ride a horse down there but they didn't want any skateboarders or cydlists. Scaremongering comments suggested that it would be the first step to turning it into a fully blown road for cars. That somehow a change in the surface of the path would encourage people to drive down the path with cars.
Disused railway lines across the UK have had the bonded resin surface that is proposed and it has opened them up to far more people. They are very attractive surfaces. They still have wide untouched verges. They remain green and pleasant and full of wildlife.
The negative campaign has claimed that the existing muddy surface is fit for purpose. It isn't for everybody, in all conditions. The proposed non-slip bonded surface makes it fit for purpose for more of the people, more of the time, in more conditions.
During the time that people stood at Sully Terrace for the public meeting, I witnessed two invalid buggies come up the path and head towards the station. One user went along the mud path but the other user came off the track at Sully Terrace and went along the road rather than use the muddy path that has been worn. In the same time two train loads of commuters came down from the station. As winter approaches the path will become unusable for many people. The campaigners have also attempted to claim that the path went from nowhere to nowhere. That it is a cul-de-sac at one end and ends in a housing estate at the other.
People need viable alternatives to the car and children need safer routes to school. A disused railway line ticks those boxes.
At the public meeting the campaigners went on about tarmacing over the path, exaggerating the width, nature and the impact of the proposed surface. At the end of the meeting the majority them then jumped into their cars and drove off along tarmac roads.
If the campaigners get their way and have a referendum, I hope that all residents of Penarth and the Vale will be included because Nimbyism is trying to deprive all residents of a valuable asset. The money is already set aside and won't go elsewhere. It will just be lost.
If this goes ahead I think that most people recognise the improvement, will see that it is still green and pleasant and will ask, what was all the fuss about.