Sheppey Light Railway Greenway

Meetings

Sheppey Light Railway Greenway Project Report 2023

“The scheme would not work”, people told us. The internet is littered with previous projects so the populous was understandably sceptical. We don’t underestimate the challenge, but we have made an amazing start.

What started as a few seeds, scattered across the population of this island, has grown steadily. Long forgotten reports were dragged out from the archives and the media started to take an interest. Swale Borough Council appointed Adrian Oliver as an Active Travel Co-ordinator, to look at cycling and walking across Swale. The Government published a long awaited document called “Gear Change” and there were promises of funding from central government.

The Sheppey Light Railway, built by Colonel Stevens and opened in 1901, connected Queenborough with Leysdown. It closed in 1950 and much of the original track bed has been lost.

The Sheppey Light Railway Greenway (SLRG) project is an exciting initiative to recreate a walking and cycling route across the island, using the route of the railway where possible. This will be a essential resource, opening up safe routes for residents and tourists, encouraging exercise and recreation.

A number of public meetings have promoted the project, which has engaged with over 90 people. An initial pump-priming grant of £1,500 was received from the Foundation for Integrated Transport, a charity founded to promote UK-focused sustainable and transformational transport solutions.

SLRG Officers were elected – Chair: Tim Foreman, Treasurer: Chris Reed, Secretary: Linda Brinklow. In December 2022 a Constitution was created for the SLRG, and a Memorandum of Understanding in Partnership with Sheppey Matters who are providing back office support and development advice.

Despite small beginnings, this is a proactive project! The most exciting development has been a visit from John Grimshaw of Greenway and Cycleroutes Limited. Their purpose is “to build paths that have been long-awaited by local communities and which, for one reason or another, have not been built.” This is esactly the professional input SLRG needs to move things forward.

John, complete with bicycle, appeared on Sheppey on 23rd May and we were able, as a small group, to look more closely at possible cycle/walk routes. As a result of our travels, John has produced for us two maps and some information to help us get started. These will be shared during the AGM.

We are now seeking funding for John’s Company to produce a scheme for the route across the island. This will be aspirational initially, as no landowners have yet been presented with the scheme, and of course the whole scheme rests on their willingness to allow their fields to be used for the route.

It was very inspiring to see John Grimshaw indicate possible routes on the ground as we walked parts of the proposed SLRG route. It made our aspirations tangible.

The next steps are:

- find funding for John Grimshaw to produce the scheme

- discover who owns the various plots we want to cross

- raise public awareness and increase the size of the committee

 

 

Tim Foreman

Chair

MINUTES OF THE AGM MEETING OF THE SHEPPEY LR GREENWAY GROUP

30th June 2023

Venue- Sheerness East Working Man’s Club

MEMBERS PRESENT.

Chair – Tim Foreman, Treasurer- Cllr Chris Reed Sheerness TC, Secretary- Cllr Linda Brinklow Sheerness TC, Committee member Cllr Geoff Partis Warden and Leysdown PC.

NB; There are plans to try and include representatives from all of the island councils on the committee.

County Councillor – Mike Whiting, SBC- Active Travel Co-Ordinator- Adrian Oliver and 10 members of the public

This was the group’s first ever AGM. The Secretary, Linda Brinklow, a member of the club, welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced the Chair Tim Foreman and speakers Robin Townsend and Matt… from the Crab and Winkle Line.

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT (See opposite)

FINANCE REPORT

Chris Reed updated the meeting on the finances to date, noting the agreement with Sheppey Matters ,who are the hosting body, and who  hold the cash.

SHEPPEY L R GREENWAY ACCOUNTS TO DATE.

18/10/2022  FIT FUND1,500.00

01/01/2023  ZURIC INSURANCE-154.75

13/01/2023  HAGARS lap top-135.00

01/01/2023  USB -10.00

01/01/2023  WEBSITE DOMAIN -10.00

01/03/2023  MICROSOFT 365 -59.99

24/05/2023  PACKED LUNCHES -30.00

24/05/2023  TRAIN FARE   -3.00

24/05/2023   REFRESHMENTS -19.05

Balance at Bank1078.21

ELECTION OF OFFICERS

Chairperson- Tim Foreman 

Treasurer- Chris Reed

Secretary- Linda Brinklow

Committee member- Geoff Partis (All elected un-apposed)

Committee Member – Cllr Kirstie Martin Leysdown PC – elected.

Additional persons who wish to be involved  Lee Jarmaine and Paul Houghton

 The Sheppey Walking and Cycling Network Plan

Adrian Oliver then gave a brief introduction the Area Cycling Net Work Plan, explaining that the aim is to set out the Swale Borough Council plans for developing the network over the next ten years. He spoke about the Government funding grant of £15,000 that has been awarded for the planning of routes generally, on the Isle of Sheppey between the three major conurbations, Sheerness, Minster and Queenborough. He also spoke about the visit by John Grimshaw, of Greenways and Cycle Routes Ltd, to look at the Sheppey LR Group’s suggested route for crossing the island from Queenborough to Leysdown. He mentioned that to secure the services of John Grimshaw further, the group would have to raise £6,000.

 Presentation from guest speakers Matt and  Robin of the “Crab and Winkle Line Trust”.

A very impressive display of additional materials was presented for the public to look at. These included an artist drawn panorama/impression of the route from Whitstable to Canterbury and a very attractive handout detailing the line and it’s attractions for the benefit of visitors.

Matt then talked the group through a well put together presentation detailing the history of the line and the problems and triumphs that the group had encountered in bringing the route into being.

A  Q and A session followed and there was much discussion among groups. Cllr Whiting was most supportive as was former editor of the local news paper John Nurden.

 AOB- none

 Date of next meeting

FRIDAY  27TH October 2023

Meeting finished just before 9.00pm