Councillors fight to re-open crossings lost as part of Leven rail link work
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SNP members Ross Vettraino (Glenrothes Central and Thornton) and John Beare (Glenrothes North, Leslie and Markinch) are looking for ways to save three crossings - Doubledykes, Waulksmill and Tullybreck which are already shut or are intended to close soon.
The closures of the formerly unrestricted crossings hve resulted in public outcry and calls from both councillors and communities to reopen them as soon as possible. An online petition has gained nearly 1500 signatures from members of the public.
In March, Glenrothes area committee made calls to “enable the immediate removal” of the current crossing obstructions and reverse the Network Rail Scotland plans to permanently close them.
Cllr Vettraino - a key player in securing area committee support - is now bringing the issue to Fife’s full council chambers.
He is asking the council to note: “That Network Rail, while redeveloping the Thornton to Leven rail-link, and with insufficient consultation with local communities, has already closed or intends to close the crossing routes known as Doubledykes, Waulksmill and Tullybreck.”
The Right of Way at Doubledykes was extinguished by a British Railways Order in the 1980s. However, Cllr Vettraino’s motion asserts that the public has since enjoyed free and unrestricted access along its route.
“The local community believes that the Right of Way has consequently been re-established. This is a view that is shared by Scotways, the independent charity that upholds and promotes public access rights in Scotland,” the motion reads.
The motion claims that ScotWays has all three level crossings recorded in the National Catalogue of Rights of Way.
According to Cllr Vettraino, the independent charity claims the council should have promoted “stopping up orders” prior to Network Rail closing the crossing.
“Scotways has also said that formally closed Rights of Way could be re-gained by positive prescription and, in the case of Doubledykes, is of the view that there has been sufficient public use over the necessary prescription period for a public right to have been re-acquired and that it remains recorded as a Right of Way,” the motion claims.
To this end, Cllr Vettraino is asking the full council to seek legal advice about whether or not the right of way has been re-established and to investigate legal routes of re-establishing the rights of way.
The council will discuss the proposals on Thursday.