The reinstated Honeybourne Link railway would have a lasting detrimental effect all along the proposed route, but especially in Stratford-upon-Avon, the largest town, as explained below:

NOISE, VIBRATION, DUST AND POLLUTION

  • Regular diesel trains (up to four per hour, at peak times, on a single track) would inflict noise, dust and pollution on the people who live and work along the route in Stratford-upon-Avon and damage their standard of living.
  • The properties concerned are Stratford College and the retirement housing opposite; those in St. Martin’s Close, St. Andrews Crescent, Albany Road, Grove Road and Evesham Place that back onto Summerton Way; those along the northern section of Seven Meadows Road and in Sandfield Road, Hertford Way and around Wetherby Way.
  • Trains produce ground borne vibrations and noise that can be transmitted to buildings and the depth of the trenches and tunnels required for the railway in Stratford may intensity these effects. See Ove Arup GRIP 3 Report, Section 9.1.3 – Gradients and Vertical Alignment.
  • The rail supporters claim the likelihood of any freight trains using the proposed line is remote, thus, they hope, calming some of the concerns about noise, vibration, dust and pollution. We believe this statement is untrue because the use of freight trains is mentioned a number of times in the Ove Arup GRIP 3 Report of 2012.

RAIL TRENCHES AND TUNNELS

  • The rail lobby stated that trains leaving Stratford Town Station would glide quietly down an incline into a trench along Summerton Way approximately 8 metres deep. Then they would pass through a tunnel under Evesham Road roundabout, into another deep trench in Seven Meadows Road to Wetherby Way, where they would go through another tunnel, up another incline and emerge upon the Greenway.
  • They would do all of this without bothering or inconveniencing anyone or anything. This is hard to believe.
  • What is certain is that engines going back up the incline would be at full power with accompanying noise and vibration, particularly due to the much steeper incline than is normally acceptable to rail operators.
  • The trenches and tunnels would tend to fill up with water during heavy rainfall and settle, requiring a permanent and expensive pumping system to avoid flooding and long delays. No pumping system has been included in the current costing.
  • The water table is also an unknown factor in this area. It may well have implications on the design of the trench with an associated increase in cost.

PROPERTIES AFFECTED

  • Summerton Way, Seven Meadows Road and Wetherby Way are surrounded by housing estates, an expanding primary school, large secondary school, College of Further education, home for senior citizens and new retirement flats. They will all be too close to the railway for comfort, which means that the total number of properties affected will be significant.
  • In particular, the railway will run a few metres from the home for senior citizens at the north end of Summerton Way.
  • The line will run less than five metres from the boundaries of houses in St Martins Close and St Andrews Crescent. Some of these are side-on to Summerton Way, so the railway will be even closer to them.
  • B&B’s and other businesses in Grove Road and Evesham Place backing onto Summerton Way may suffer a reduction in client numbers and takings.
  • The various houses along the Greenway, being right on the proposed railway line, will suffer greatly.
  • The businesses on the industrial park in Station Road, Long Marston will be affected. The impact of building a new station at the same location is currently unknown.
  • Farms and houses on the proposed route between Long Marston and Honeybourne will also feel the negative effects of the railway.

TRAFFIC FLOW

  • Vehicles travelling along Seven Meadows Road, between the Wetherby Way and Evesham Road roundabouts will be shunted to one side alongside a cutting for the railway within the current footprint of the highway.
  • This would create a bottleneck on an already busy road into Stratford, cause backups on congested roads and spread traffic chaos further into the town and maybe triggering gridlock in some particularly busy areas at peak times.
  • This would cause motorists to seek alternative routes, creating short cuts and rat runs in narrow streets, with implications for safety and residents’ standard of living.
  • Traffic using Milcote Road and Station Road, Long Marston would be slowed down, as to run a railway across these streets requires a road bridges to carry vehicles over the trains.
  • Also consider what would happen on bank holidays or when there are festivals in or near the town.

THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT

  • The railway would permanently damage Summerton Way that is a scenic footpath, green corridor, cycle route and wildlife sanctuary.
  • It is in constant use throughout the year by visitors, residents, schoolchildren, students and elderly or disabled people who are sheltered from the roads around Stratford that are increasingly busy.
  • The footpath crossing Summerton Way from Evesham Place is the main route to the major tourist attraction of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage from the town. It and other associated footpaths may be closed, require footbridges built over the railway or be diverted onto longer routes, inconveniencing locals and tourists.
  • Summerton Way provides easy access to amenities and the town centre for residents that would be hampered by trains.
  • SGG believes that Summerton Way is an important green space that should be a protected area for the enjoyment of Stratford residents and visitors from home and abroad.
  • The right of way across Seven Meadows Road would be lost or require a long diversion.

THE GREENWAY

We make the case for avoiding the disastrous impact of the proposed Stratford-upon-Avon to Honeybourne Link on people, wildlife and the environment elsewhere on this website. Our comments below are limited to specific facilities along the Greenway that are at particular risk.

GREENWAY CAR PARKING

  • Parking spaces at Seven Meadows Road and Milcote Road would be restricted.
  • The free off-road parking at Station Road, Long Marston would undoubtedly be lost.

CAFES AND PICNIC AREAS

  • The room available for Carriages Café and its picnic area near the Seven Meadows Way car park and Carriages 5344 Café and picnic area at Milcote Road would shrink. Would their operators be willing to continue?
  • Would Stratford Cycle Hire and the children’s play area next to Carriages Café continue to operate next to a railway line with a likely reduced clientele?

CYCLING ROUTES

Summerton Way, Seven Meadows Road (north) and the Greenway are part of National Cycle Route 5, which in turn connects with other national cycle routes:

  • The Summerton Way and Seven Meadows Road sections would be constricted and might be diverted.
  • Cyclists would be forced to one side on the Greenway alongside trains and the section from Milcote Road to Station Road would be diverted through Long Marston.
  • The reduced capacity of this part of National Cycle Route 5 and the diversions along roads will make it far less attractive for cyclists.

HORSE RIDERS

  • They might lose their permissive bridleway from Milcote Road to Long Marston.
  • Even with space beside the proposed railway, would it be safe to ride skittish horses alongside trains?

CROSSINGS

  • All crossings of the Greenway, at Milcote Road, Station Road and farm crossings between Long Marston and Honeybourne will need expensive bridges built over them, as new level crossings are not permitted.
  • By their very nature, these structures will be restrictive for the everyday use of vehicles, pedestrians and farm animals.

E&OE

These negative effects would be worse during the years of railway construction, as explained on the Construction Difficulty page.

See what you can do to help avoid the above problems on the Take Action page