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Council To Debate Future Of Queensbury Tunnel

A motion put forward by Conservative Councillor Andrew Senior, who represents Queensbury Ward, will be put to the vote during a meeting of the full Council.

The future of the disused railway tunnel under Queensbury will be debated by Bradford councillors on Tuesday.

Highways England's Historical Railways Estate (HRE), which looks after the 1.4-mile long tunnel on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT), could begin works to infill key parts of the structure in the summer if a transfer of ownership to another statutory body has not been agreed.

This work would render it permanently beyond use and effectively rule out any future development of a cycle network - something campaigned for by the Queensbury Tunnel Society.

A motion put forward by Conservative Councillor Andrew Senior, who represents Queensbury Ward, will be put to the vote during a meeting of the full Council.

Mr Senior said: "The tunnel could provide the venue for a beautiful walk or cycle ride - even in inclement weather - allowing people to keep fit. Even on the worst of days it would be better than staying indoors due to rain or wind. The tunnel could offer a unique amenity and I am confident that it would appeal to many, many people from near and afar. I hope that my colleagues across the Council Chamber will back my motion supporting utilising the tunnel and then work alongside me and anyone else who is interested to see this happen."

Norah McWilliam, leader of the Queensbury Tunnel Society, added: "We are obviously delighted that Councillor Senior and Lord Greaves can see the tunnel's potential and support our campaign to save it. Whilst we recognise it's a structure that presents many challenges, we know they can be overcome at a sustainable cost and that investment in the tunnel will be repaid handsomely over time through social and economic benefits.

"We hope that both the local Council and central Government will work collaboratively with us to ensure those benefits are secured for future generations. It would be wasteful and short-sighted if the Historical Railways Estate was allowed to convert £3 million of public money into concrete and pour it into a black hole."

Just before Christmas, a Council official assured the Society that "Bradford Council will do everything within its means to explore various options to keep the Queensbury Tunnel open as long as, in doing so, it would not be detrimental to the Council."

 

An ePetition (www.tiny.cc/QueensburyTunnel) asking for HRE's abandonment plans to be suspended has now been signed by almost 7,000 people.

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