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Light at the End of the Tunnel

January 23, 2012 3:40 PM

Stones Road tunnel January 2012Epsom councillors are hopeful that the opening of the Stones Road tunnel isn't far away.

Contractors were working on Saturdays to speed up completion of the tunnel which will create a path suitable for cyclists and pedestrians between the Hook Road area and the eastern side of Epsom, particularly Sainsburys. The photograph shows progress as at 21.1.12.

A railway bridge used to provide this link but was condemned as unsafe some years ago. Historically it was also a difficult route for cyclists who had to carry their bikes up, across and down the old concrete bridge.

It has taken years of negotiation with the railway network and Surrey County Council to strengthen and deepen the existing tunnel to make it suitable and safe for use. Cllr Alison Kelly (Town ward) has been keeping an eye on the works and said "Though re-opening this link is not 100% popular with some residents who live very close, I've had people continually asking for progress reports and parents keen to see the link re-opened so that their children can use it as a route to school."

Completion of the works to the tunnel, largely championed by County Councillor Colin Taylor, will also see Surrey County Council vacate land nearby which is adjacent to a disused allotment site. This opens up possibilities for regenerating the allotments and creating a better habitat for creatures inhabiting the adjacent Stones Road pond, classified as a SSSI because a protected species of great crested newt live there. There's a management plan in existence for the whole area which involves better fencing and security for both potential allotmenteers, the SSSI and the nearby traveller's site. It is considered that allotments set beside hinterland for the newts will be a sustainable use of the area of green space for many years to come.