Many will have been relieved at the proposed timetable by Northern Rail which would have seen many of their services from May 2018 services not stopping at Hunmanby. Campaigners such as Nick Harvey and indeed our MP Kevin Hollinrake who responded at short notice deserve congratulations. While the change of mind by Northern Rail is welcome, serious questions remain about the way the consultation on the proposed timetable was carried out.
Northern Rail’s so-called consultation which began in May through to July was to a limited audience of North Yorkshire County Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Community Rail Partnerships and rail user groups. While I am grateful that North Yorkshire County Council and others made representations on the new timetable, I am astounded that those bodies consulted did not reach out to the affected communities for their views.
The rail franchise is a public contract, therefore it is also unacceptable that Northern Rail did not consult with our MP Kevin Hollinrake who was informed by a member of the public contacting his office two days before the end of the consultation. Indeed, I am not aware of any elected councillor in the area who was consulted by Northern Rail.
Investment in railways is a key part of sustainable growth in the economic. As Scarborough Borough Council is responsible for economic development, it is inexplicable as to why Northern Rail did not include them in the consultation. As the borough develops a well-planned service between a network of village train stations which would help reduce the inevitable pressure on our roads.
Finally, I welcome Northern Rail’s decision, however the communities affected need assurances that the approach adopted during this consultation will never happen again. The public and their elected representatives must be informed of any plans and be allowed to respond accordingly.
Cllr Michelle Donohue-Moncrieff