Proposals for the re-opening of the Northumberland Line for rail passenger services moved a step forward this week with the launch of a public consultation on the plans.
SLC Property is managing the complex property consents strategy for the project, including the Transport and Works Act Orders (TWAO) and Planning Applications. As part of this workstream SLC has worked closely with the client and colleagues from AECOM to support the development and delivery of a COVID-19 resilient public consultation, assisting to devise a programme of engagement and materials to optimise the outreach and feedback.
The ambitious project is working in collaboration with a number of key project partners, including the Department for Transport (DfT), Network Rail, Transport for the North (TfN), Nexus and AECOM.
The Northumberland Line aims to support and stimulate economic growth, community development and regeneration in Northumberland and the surrounding regions by providing new and improved transport links for local people and businesses. In doing so, the scheme will:
- Boost the local economy but up to £470m;
- Provide a real incentive for potential employers to relocate to and invest in the area;
- Provide vital infrastructure to help deliver the region’s goals for economic and population growth;
- Improve access from towns such as Blyth and Ashington to major employment hubs like Newcastle, as well as opening up new opportunities for travel and education;
- Help to reduce congestion and improve air quality on key corridors by moving people away from car travel and onto public transport; and
- Support the delivery of significant growth in sectors such as renewable energy, offshore oil and gas and engineering.
During previous consultations for the Northumberland Line in September and October 2019, the focus was on raising awareness of the scheme and finding out more about what local people wanted from the service. From over 900 respondents, 96% supported the scheme, 89% would use the service and more than 1/3 would use the service more than 3 times per week.
Feedback from stakeholders including local residents on the new proposals will help to shape the design and be summarised in a Statement of Community Engagement, which will form a significant part of the planning application.
The consultation will close on 14 December 2020 at 11:59pm.
To find out more information about the scheme, please visit the Northumberland County Council website.