Funding application brings hope for railway restoration

Restoration of a section of the former East Lincolnshire railway from Firsby to Louth could be a step closer thanks to an application submitted by East Lindsey District Council.

The Council has submitted an application to the Department of Transport for a £50,000 feasibility study for the Restoring Your Railway Fund and included in that is for further consideration of the Willoughby to Mablethorpe loop.

The application has been driven by Portfolio Holder for Planning Councillor Tom Ashton and Councillor Adrian Benjamin and is supported by both Matt Warman MP (Boston and Skegness) and Victoria Atkins MP (Louth and Horncastle).

Support for the restoration has also gathered pace in the community with a petition gaining 2,433 signatures.

The proposal endeavours to make the case for considering the reinstatement of the East Lincolnshire Line as the optimal sustainable transport solution for encouraging further economic growth and opportunity in East Lindsey.

Based on 2011 Census information, the route would serve the settlements of Louth, Legbourne, Alford and Willoughby; a population of over 20,000.

Whilst the Willoughby to Mablethorpe section would serve over 13,000 population in Mablethorpe, Sutton on Sea and Theddlethorpe.

Portfolio Holder for Planning, Councillor Tom Ashton, said: “East Lindsey is a great place to live and to visit and developing both these aspects is essential for future growth and economic prosperity.

“Enjoying the extensive Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a settlement geography of market towns, rural villages, wild coast, seaside resorts, and an excellent education offer which still includes Grammar Schools, East Lindsey should be incredibly attractive for people to choose to locate themselves, their businesses, and their families.”

Councillor Adrian Benjamin said: “A green and sustainable rail corridor would be a natural place to look, to ensure communities are connected and reliance on cars is reduced.

“Whether that is the growth of existing settlements or the creation of new ones is beyond the scope of this application, however it does point to a greener, lower‐carbon future that allows this area to grow in a considered way, without engendering the harm which would come from scything through the countryside with major road projects.

“It enhances without harming.”