TWO MPs are continuing to battle over the future of a disused railway line that could be used to strengthen links to a small town.

Richard Holden, Conservative MP for North West Durham, and Liz Twist, Labour MP for Blaydon have both clashed over the future of the Consett to Tyne rail link.

Last month the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced that the feasibility study for a new public transport link between Consett and The Tyne has been successful.

Mr Holden’s campaign was part of his six-point plan for North West Durham.

The plan would see improved local public transport and provide enhanced cycling and walking amenities along the route.

The Northern Echo:

Mr Holden said: “This campaign was a key part of my personal manifesto, upon which I was elected, and I have been fighting for it every day with the support of local people.

“This commitment to the feasibility study, following the announcement of support for a new hospital to replace Shotley Bridge shows just how committed the Government are to the levelling up agenda.

“It shows what an effective and hardworking MP can achieve for their constituency if they put their shoulder to the wheel.”

However, there are many who oppose the plans including Labour MP Liz Twist.

If the rail line was to be rebuilt it would go through her Blaydon constituency.

The main concern for those against, is that of the Derwent Walk Country Park and its wildlife.

The park is enjoyed by both residents and tourists.

Mrs Twist suggests alternative transport improvements are available.

The Northern Echo:

She said: "The Derwent Walk Country Park is one of the jewels in the crown of Blaydon Constituency.

"My constituents benefit enormously from this haven of wildlife and nature, and hundreds of thousands of visitors use the country park for recreation and to travel by foot and bicycle through the Derwent Valley.

"I have long been calling for greater investment in our region’s transport from central government, but it has to be spent on the right priorities.

"Mr Holden's proposals are not part of our region's strategic transport plan and when weighed up against the potentially huge costs to recreate the line, you've got to wonder whether they will see the light of day.

"Since constituents heard about this plan, my inbox has been flooded with concerns over this proposal for their country park.

"I have received many objections from constituents, some of whom directly, and happily – live along the line who are desperately worried about the significant changes to the country park that a proposal such as this could bring.

“The significant amount of cash being spent on the feasibility study for Richard Holden’s proposals would be better spent on a new fleet of electric buses for this essential route."