The Churnet Valley Railway has announced that Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, or SMDC, has voted to grant planning permission for the railway to extend into Leek at their planning committee meeting.
The meeting took place on 12th April 2018.
The approval of the SMDC sponsored planning application is the result of several months of effort between the council and the Churnet Valley Railway (1992) Plc. The application process started after the council voted in June 2017 to allocate the funds to compile and submit a planning application for the reinstatement of the railway.
This was done because the Churnet Valley Railway is part of the Churnet Valley Masterplan which was adopted in 2014. The funding covered all the necessary environmental surveys as well as the cost of the application.
The Churnet Valley Railway provided technical support for the application and drew upon estimates which were produced in November 2015.
Lots of activities are now going on ‘behind the scenes’ to address things such as agreeing on the lease on the council-owned track bed, developing the funding requirements and starting to compile the health and safety files.
The permission is for 1000 metres of single track from the existing Churnet Valley Railway railhead at Leek Brook Junction over the former double track formation and will terminate at an 8-coach runaround loop in the Cornfield West development area which is 400m (approx) south of the former Leek Station.
As part of the extension works, a remodelling of the track layout of Leek Brook Junction will be undertaken. Part of this work is the installation of the former northeast chord line to reinstate the turning triangle which will allow services to run from Leek to the Cauldon line as well as having the facility to turn locomotives without the need to a low loader.
The signal box at Leed Brook Junction will be brought back into working order as part of the resignalling scheme.
Supporting infrastructure works will also be undertaken at Cheddleton to reconnect to down platform line.
More news will be announced in due course.