About This Live Project

Our project looks at the disused railway which used to run from Scarborough to Whitby. The line passes through urban, suburban and rural areas along its 22 mile length. At present it is successfully used as a recreational walking and cycling route aswell as by horse riders and even commuters as a traffic free means to get to work. 

Working with Scarborough council, Friends of the Old Railway and other groups and members of the public we hope to raise awareness of this fantastic resource, highlight areas of improvement and produce a strategic masterplan for its future development.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

At the end of the first week the vast linearity of the site is becoming clear but also the massive potential for improvement it has. We made our initial site visit on Thursday 2nd October where we struggled to find to current entrance to the old railway line in Sainsbury’s car park. It is a very confusing entrance to a site which is an important part of local history and a main cycling artery. There is a beautiful sign and a refurbished play area with picnic benches which is very successful in bringing people to the site and keeping people there for longer periods of time but do not create the celebration or orientation to the entrance that is required. Andy Sharp from ‘Old Railway Line Friends Group’ provided us with a short tour through the Scarborough urban section of the line, his local knowledge of the area and the communities was very useful and even had ideas of suggested small scale interventions that would help to improve the urban section. The line is important historically as the coastline between Whitby and Scarborough had previously been inaccessible and so provided access to the picturesque landscape around Robin Hood’s Bay, but our initial impressions were that the site had lost its historical identity and after its closure had been left with a series of awkward spaces and problems of antisocial behaviour. There were some really inspiring remaining features just within the short stretch we have visited, the variety of bridges and the river running across. There was also the problem of the surrounding housing was not designed to face away from the railway not providing any observation to the spaces and was a contributing factor to the problems.

To sum up, key findings are:
- There is currently a lively entrance environment which with further refurbishment could be an attractive entrance to the site.
- "veiled" entrance

- Faded historical identity of old railway line
- A series of awkward spaces
- A main cycling artery
- The inspiring various bridges and the river
- The problems faced by the relationship between old railway and housing orientation

We also had our first meeting with, Tom Mutton and Alan Tomlinson who were Parks and Development Officers for Scarborough Borough Council and Matthew Smart a landscape architect for the council. We were also accompanied by Benjamin Costello who is the project assistant who was a previous student of Sheffield University. The initial meeting went well and there was real enthusiasm from the council team who were eager for new and exciting proposals for the project and next Thursday we are a meeting where we will introduce our initial ideas. On Monday we intend to cycle the full 20miles of the old railway line to explore the possible sites, so we’re pretty hopeful the weather will be nice…

Next meeting –

Monday 6th October (group) : Cycling workshop
Thursday 9th October: Client meeting

1 comment:

Russell said...

Have fun cycling the line tomorrow! The forecast says clear early on, then rain late afternoon.

See you all Tuesday at 10.15.