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First rail route to reopen as cycleway

Plans to revive the UK’s first passenger railway route as a £1.5M shared use cycle path and footway moved forward this week after proposals cleared a major planning hurdle.

The disused Canterbury & Whitstable Railway in Kent − known as the Crab & Winkle Line − will be resurfaced and restored as a cycling and pedestrian route, and linked to the Oyster Bay Trail coastal cycle route by the construction of two new bridges spanning Whitstable’s Teynham Road, Old Bridge Road and railway line.

Canterbury City Council has granted planning permission for the new path, and planning permission for the bridges will be sought when the design is confirmed by a steering group.

“We would hope to have a planning application submitted by the end of April,” said sustainable transport charity Sustrans project co-ordinator David Young.

Planning permission granted for two cable-stayed bridges in 2006 has expired, and the designs have since changed. Possible new bridge designs have been exhibited in Whitstable for public viewing and feedback.

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