Holy Island by Simon Holding from the Discover our Land photo competition

Meeting called to discuss Holy Island land train concerns

Northumberland County Council is to call a meeting to hear local concerns around a proposal to introduce a land train on Holy Island. 
The move comes following mounting opposition from residents and businesses to an application by a local transport firm to introduce a land train as a Covid-friendly alternative to the shuttle bus that currently operates on the island.
The train will transport tourists from the main car park, into the village and on towards Lindisfarne Castle. 
While the council is not responsible for granting the license - which falls to the responsibility of the UK Vehicle Certification Agency - it is one of a number of organisations that has been consulted. 
Local opposition to the plan is now mounting with over 6,000 people now signing an online petition. Many believe the train will turn the peaceful island into a “theme park.” Others, including local businesses fear it is not suitable for the narrow streets and that it will take passing trade away from businesses along the route.  
Cllr Glen Sanderson, Leader of Northumberland County Council is to invite representatives from Holy Island Parish Council, the AONB, National Trust and other key stakeholders to come together to discuss and better understand all the issues. 
He said: “Holy Island is a very special place with a hugely important historic past. It is clear this is a very sensitive issue and I have sympathy and fully understand the concerns of many of the islanders. 
It is important to point out that licenses for the application and operation of Land Trains for genuine tourist and sightseeing purposes are issued by the UK Vehicle Certification Agency, so we have limited powers in this respect. 
“The county council has been consulted purely from a highways safety perspective, and it is our opinion that the vehicle will not pose any unacceptable risk to the public. However, there are clearly wider issues and concerns that need to be discussed and heard, and I hope that by calling a meeting we can listen and together agree a way forward.” 
The operator is proposing the land train undertakes a four-week trial to assess its impact on visitors, residents and the overall manoeuvrability of the three carriages through the streets on the island. 
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