Don't close the door on Queensbury Tunnel

The Queensbury Tunnel could become part of a family-friendly route for cycling and walking in future

Don't close the door on Queensbury Tunnel

The Queensbury Tunnel is a part of a disused railway line in West Yorkshire that could be turned into a cycling and walking route - or greenway - connecting Halifax to Bradford and Keighley. Cycling UK Campaigns Officer Caroline Grogan wants Highways England to think about creating a legacy for generations to come.

Why close the door on the potential to enjoy cycling in the beautiful West Yorkshire countryside in the future?

The joy of cycling along one of Britain’s old railway lines is truly marvellous. I have cycled past old lime kilns built during the Industrial Revolution and through spectacular tunnels carved by Irish navvies on the Monsal Trail in the Peak District. In 2017, 331,320 people enjoyed the same route, 132,991 while cycling. 

It seems counterintuitive to me - to say the least - that Highways England, the organisation responsible for the Historical Railways Estate, wants to permanently block the Queensbury Tunnel in West Yorkshire, eliminating all hopes for future use, somthing Bradford, the local authority, does not support.

Highways England's proposals mean that we will be left without the option to turn the Queensbury Tunnel into an enjoyable place in the future, like the Monsal Trail in Derbyshire, where people of all ages can cycle in safe and beautiful surroundings.  

Time is running out to act

The deadline for responses to the public consultation of Highways England’s planning application is Monday 15 July.

One of the planning application’s objectors, David Petty has already expressed his concern by submitting a response to the consultation on Highway England’s planning application, pointing out how, "It conflicts with many of the policies in Bradford’s local plan, which seek to promote cycling and walking, better links between communities and the role our heritage can play in regenerating communities."

It conflicts with many of the policies in Bradford’s local plan, which seek to promote cycling and walking, better links between communities and the role our heritage can play in regenerating communities. 

David Petty

The Queensbury Tunnel Society, the local campaigns group working to keep the tunnel open and nominees in our recent Volunteer Awards, clearly points to the financial cost of its permanent closure: "The proposed abandonment of the tunnel by its custodian, Highways England’s Historical Railways Estate (HRE), will cost upwards of £3.6 million."

The proposed abandonment of the tunnel by its custodian, Highways England’s Historical Railways Estate (HRE), will cost upwards of £3.6 million.

The Queensbury Tunnel Society

The benefits of not closing the Queensbury Tunnel

However, the campaigns group also highlights that the local economy will benefit by £3.20 for every £1 invested in opening the tunnel in the future for cycling and walking.

Cycling UK does not support Highways England’s planning application, as we also recognise the benefits of having the opportunity to turn the Queensbury Tunnel into a cycling and walking friendly route in the future. When funding considerations for the project are better understood, work could commence to connect both the tunnel and people to the West Yorkshire countryside. However, simply closing the tunnel without leaving that option on the table will deprive us all for generations to come.

What can I do to help?

Over 3,000 people from across the country have already objected to the consultation on Bradford council’s website. If you agree that we should be given the choice to leave the door open for cycling in the Queensbury Tunnel, make your voice heard by also submitting a response.

Take action 

Make your voice heard by submitting a response to the Queensbury Tunnel planning application on Bradford Council’s website, using the comment on or object to a planning application online link and type the following reference number into the search bar at the bottom of the page: 19/02242/MAF.

 

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