Railway protesters: 'We'd rather have a cycle track'
A 400-metre extension of a historic railway track has divided a community with protesters saying they would rather have a cycle path.
The Helston Railway Company has applied for the go-ahead to extend the mile of track which already forms a popular visitor attraction at Trevarno Farm in Cornwall.
Hollywood actor Hugh Grant added his autograph to the petition supporting the project on a recent visit.
However, protesters fighting the scheme say there is actually little support among the local community.
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More than 100 people met at Nancegollan Village Hall to discuss the proposal and protester Adrian Curtis said the mood was clearly in favour of it being thrown out.
"It was no surprise to us that most local people are opposed to these plans," he said.
"When Helston Railway was within the former Trevarno Gardens site it was self contained and had little impact on residents.
"These new plans impose an industrial site on a quiet rural hamlet, and have already seriously impacted the local environment."
Mr Curtis said that many people said they would have preferred the original plan to turn the corridor containing the defunct railway line into a cycle path.
The eight-mile long Helston line was opened in 1887 and was such a success that it was initially hoped to extend it down to Lizard village.
But plummeting passengers numbers after the second World War sealed its fate and the line was closed in 1962, a year ahead of the infamous Dr Beeching cuts.
In 2005, the Helston Railway Preservation Society started renovation work at the stretch in Trevarno Gardens and the organisation's chairman, Richard Barnes said they hoped to extend the mile of line already reopened.
He said they did take protesters views on board, but added most people in the area were in favour of the scheme.
"We know that the majority in this area do support us," he said.
"With anything like this, there are people who are going to be affected and we are trying to do everything we possibly can to be as unobtrusive as possible."
Mr Barnes said he felt there was a real appetite to see the extension go ahead and it was hoped to emulate the success of other historic railways which had proved a real driver for the local economy.
"You only have to see the faces of kids and their parents who go on the train to see how much they like it."