The last few months have seen yet another attempt to nibble at the infrastructure of our former railway line. This one, at the site of the old Bridge of Weir railway station, flies against the current accepted trend to promote rail, the most environmentally friendly means of maintaining and improving “connectivity” against the growing threats of climate change, environmental pollution and traffic congestion on our roads. It is truly amazing that Renfrewshire Council has taken so long to take the positive action to throw out the Planning Application behind this move.
The Scottish Government, by its previous policy gestures has shown that it is not adverse to promoting rail developments elsewhere, and finance is now available under the Greater Glasgow City Deal Plan. Exciting new technological developments mean that battery and hydrogen cell propelled trains are even now available which would be eminentally suitable for use on the Gryffe Valley line. We in this group have been fighting for the restoration of this line for over twenty years, and now, as never before, is the time to get this project off the ground. Renfrewshire and Inverclyde Councils have access to this finance but they seem to be more interested in using it to support Glasgow Airport’s ill-conceived and rejected schemes to promote the Airport’s connectivity with Glasgow’s City Centre.
Yes, we need more houses, but houses of a sociably acceptable nature suitable for “starter families”, not large houses generating multi-car households which only add to the congestion on our already overcrowded local and urban roads. Those houses are to be welcomed, and should be built on sites adjacent to the railway but not on it, minimising the need for car use, and not encouraging it. It is further recognised that “Park and Ride” facilities need also to be provided adjacent to the railway, to cater for existing householders remote from the railway, making it attractive to get them to tap into the railway system.
Many residents, particularly those who do not think about the long-term future of their environment, have come to like the quiet rural cycle track and walkway which the old railway track has become, but there is no suggestion that this facility need be sacrificed. There are many examples of where a double track railway solum can support a single track railway and a rural pathway existing side-by side. Occasional “pinch-points” where passing loops and stations need to be re-created can be dealt with on an individual basis, and trees and wild-life sanctuaries can soon be restored.
As long as this issue is not addressed, would-be developers will continue to attack the integrity of this railway solum, and sooner or later they may well succeed, thus destroying this valuable “connectivity artery” for all future generations. So, if you recognise the sensibility of our arguments, please signify your support, and be prepared to sustain it against the inevitable bureaucratic inertia, hopefully by joining us.
We think the time has come to establish a formal Committee, made up of people with drive and conviction who share our views, one which is prepared to meet regularly and push matters forward into “the citadels of power”. The Beaton Brothers are prepared to offer us meeting-place accommodation, the need for which is always an issue. Let us all get together to help make the Gryffe Valley a more congenial area to live in.
If you are prepared to support us, and even more usefully, help us actively to achieve our aims, please give your name and e-mail address to PGTF, c/o Ian Beaton, 1 Station Rd., Bridge of Weir, PAl13LH. We will then contact you.
(Hon. Convener, PGTF.).