Eyesore rail line could become footpath

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An old railway line now an eyesore because of fly-tipping and flooding could be opened to the public as a footpath.

The disused Bates Colliery branch line from the pit to the staiths at Blyth has become run down since it closed in 2007, and a 51-name petition has now been drawn up urging county councillors to take action.

Last week’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s south east committee at Blyth Isabella Centre heard that UK Coal had sold part of the line between Cowpen Road and Albion Way to be developed for housing but had no plans for the rest.

Members heard that UK Coal had carried out several clean-ups of the line in the past and tackled some of its flooding problems.

It was agreed that the council’s countryside access team speak to the company about possibly linking the route to the Isabella reclamation site to provide an extended walk.

Labour group leader Coun Grant Davey, of Kitty Brewster in Blyth, said the land was an eyesore and he was baffled by UK Coal’s approval of clean-ups by local volunteers. “I cannot believe they have said, ‘Come along and clean it up for us’.”