Residents await decision on future of Royston underpass project

RESIDENTS face an anxious wait to discover whether the Royston railway underpass will go ahead after a public inquiry into the scheme. The inquiry, which focussed on whether there was a need to make a compulsory purchase of land required for the construct

RESIDENTS face an anxious wait to discover whether the Royston railway underpass will go ahead after a public inquiry into the scheme.

The inquiry, which focussed on whether there was a need to make a compulsory purchase of land required for the construction of the �3.7million Coombes Hole crossing, began last Wednesday at Coombes Community Centre, Royston, and drew to a close earlier this week.

A spokesman for the Government Office for the North East, which carried out the inquiry, said inspector Colin Tyrell's report could be "expected in four - six weeks."

Mr Tyrell had said at the opening of the inquiry that he would "need some convincing" that the compulsory purchase was necessary. Some residents are set to lose half of their gardens if the order goes ahead.


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Richard Ketteringham, of Green Street, addressed the inquiry on behalf of his family, who are set to lose some of their land.

He said: "The inspector seemed to be on the ball, and listened to what we had to say.

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"However, the impression the county council people gave was that they want to see this scheme go ahead at this location no matter what. We can only hope the inspector saw through this."

Another local resident, Terry Hartga, also attended the hearing last week. As reported in The Crow, he and his neighbours became alarmed when an alternative location map was published, outlining other potential sites for the crossing, including one near his Morton Street home.

Mr Hartga said: "I asked a question whether the �700,000 Sustrans funding would be available if the underpass was built elsewhere, and the answer was it would not.

"We were also told that there have been 12 letters of objection relating to the Coombes Hole site, and over 40 against the Morton Street location, so hopefully common sense will prevail."

The inquiry was called after compulsory purchase orders were issued last year in relation to the subway, which would link the north and south of the town and form part of a wider Royston cycle network.

Construction of the underpass has already been delayed a year because of the hearing, and if it goes ahead the earliest work will start is December 2011.

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