Controversial land train trial on Holy Island put on hold

Anger over plans to introduce a land train on Holy Island has resulted in a four-week trial being put on hold.

By Ian Smith
Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 11:11 am
A land train trial on Holy Island has been put on hold.

Northumberland County Council have instructed the UK Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) to put the licence for the land train on hold following concerns raised, including a petition signed by almost 9,000 people.

A meeting was called by the council to hear objections brought forward by islanders to the proposed tourist land train.

However, the planned four-week trial will not go ahead now until further consultation has taken place, and all concerns are listened to and considered.

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Council leader Glen Sanderson met with representatives from the Holy Island Parish Council, Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership, local residents and businesses and the local councillor to listen to their concerns.

Cllr Sanderson said: "There’s no denying the spiritual and historical heritage of Holy Island, and it truly is a remarkable place.

“There’s been a groundswell of opposition to the proposed land train, and we recognise and acknowledge the concerns and issues raised.

“For that reason, we’ve requested the licence for this operation be put on hold by the VCA, to give us time to consider these, and agree a way forward that protects this special place and addresses these concerns.”

This news has been welcomed by Nicola Douglas, who launched the campaigner to stop the land train.

She said: "We are very happy to have been heard by the county council and look forward to further consultation.”

Cllr Sanderson added: “It’s important we collectively agree what’s best for the island and pausing the current trial will help us agree a way forward together.”

The county council will now undertake further consultation with local people, the Holy Island Development Trust, parish council, AONB, National Trust, and other relevant agencies.

The land train had been proposed by a local transport firm as a Covid-friendly alternative to the shuttle bus that currently operates on the island. It would transport tourists from the main car park, into the village and on towards Lindisfarne Castle.

However, opponents believe it will turn the island into a ‘theme park’, others say it is not suitable for the narrow streets and some local businesses fear it will take passing trade away.

Have your say: Email your views to [email protected] or [email protected]

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