Plan to revive old Devon railway line for 750-home community unveiled
Plans for hundreds of new homes linked to the reopening of a Devon railway line are to be the subject of a public exhibition next week.
The line from Bere Alston to Tavistock in West Devon was among those axed by Dr Beeching 50 years ago, although there remains a regular service from Bere Alston to Plymouth.
Devon County Council wants to reinstate the route to help minimise the impact of traffic from planned development to the south and southwest of Tavistock.
A total of 750 new houses are being proposed by Bovis Homes, which is seeking public views on the scheme.
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The housebuilder's South West strategic land director, Nevin Holden, said: "This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to provide much-needed housing alongside the proposal to restore the rail connection for Tavistock.
"We are entering detailed discussions with West Devon Borough Council and look forward to working in partnership with the council and wider community in Tavistock.
"It's vital for all of us that we deliver a high-quality, well-designed new community to complement the existing town and the new station. All open land around Tavistock is sensitive and we want to protect the most sensitive areas in and adjacent to the site."
The proposals include building 9km of new single-track railway to link Tavistock to Bere Alston and a new cycleway and footpath from Tavistock to the Bere peninsula.
The new railway line would use the structures, cuttings and embankments left intact when the original line was decommissioned, although some strengthening work would need to be done to bring them in line with modern load standards and ensure they are suitable for the life of the railway.
A new station in the Callington Road area of Tavistock would include facilities for passengers as well as parking, cycle storage and links to local bus services. The existing station at Bere Alston would be upgraded.
It is hoped that an hourly service would eventually run between Tavistock and Plymouth. However, the railway can only be developed with the appropriate powers from government, which require a public inquiry.
Mr Holden added: "We are looking at how best to create a strong sense of community so that the new housing is not a satellite part of the town, at how to protect and reinforce the landscape setting of the town and its heritage, and overall, how to provide a sustainable development in a high-quality urban environment."
The public exhibition is being held at the Bedford Hotel, Tavistock, from 1pm to 8pm, on Friday, February 22.