‘Railway would bring job boost’

Unemployed residents would be given a whole new world of opportunities if aspirations to reopen a railway line are fulfilled, a would-be MP has claimed.

Coun Scott Dickinson told members of East Chevington Parish Council that bringing the Ashington, Blyth and Tyne Railway back into operation would benefit people living along the Northumberland coastal strip.

Towards the end of last year, the county council stated that re-introducing passenger rail services on the line is a key priority, as part of aims to improve infrastructure and connectivity.

At Monday’s parish council meeting, Coun Dickinson, who is county councillor for the Druridge Bay ward and Labour’s candidate for the Berwick constituency in this year’s General Election, said: “Often, transport issues and accessibilty are the reason why people in communities such as Hadston and surrounding areas don’t go for jobs in Newcastle.

“Re-opening the line would make this easier and faster and if people can get down to Newcastle and Sunderland, it would create a whole new world of opportunity for those looking for work.”

The aim of reopening the line is included in the county council’s economic strategy for growth, which aims to create 10,000 new jobs by 2031.

It was endorsed alongside a full draft version of the council’s core strategy, which is currently out for consultation.

On Monday, parish council clerk John Douglas reminded members that the parish council had highlighted a number of key issues for the area to be flagged up during the consultation process.

He said: “One of the big concerns is that, with this area being out on a limb, transport links must be improved and maintained where possible.

“Affordable housing is also an issue and it is important that people in our area have a chance to get onto the housing ladder.

“We said that we as an area, plus the county as a whole, are being saturated by wind farms and enough is enough.”

As part of economic growth, he added that it was highlghting and promoting Hadston’s trading estate.