THE Dartmoor National Park Authority’s controversial masterplan for part of Ashburton – which would have scuppered any hopes of a northern extension of the South Devon Railway into the town’s Brunellian station – has been ditched.
The plan, which included a 3.5-hectare mixed use redevelopment of the rundown Chuley Road area, which would have included housing, commercial and employment uses, and a car park, was approved by the authority two years ago.
Its implementation, which would have included houses being built on the old formation, would have meant that the section of the former GWR branch through the town to the old station, which has in recent decades been used as a garage and workshop, could never be reinstated.
The then newly-formed Friends of Ashburton Station objected to the masterplan, which in June last year was placed on hold while the park authority held discussions about the future use of the trackbed, seeking the safeguarding of the railway trackbed through the Chuley Road site.
One big stumbling block faced by the masterplan was the plan to build houses on the trackbed, which lies within the River Ashburn floodplain. Now the masterplan has been ditched – opening the door for the railway to return.
The Friends group has its own proposal that offers a solution to the required redevelopment of the Chuley Road area while also creating a significant visitor attraction.
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