CONTROVERSIAL plans for a village footbridge over a railway hit a setback yesterday when town leaders threw out proposals for a crossing point.
East Staffordshire Borough Council unanimously rejected Network Rail’s plans to build a footbridge between Old Road and Warren Lane, in Branston.
The plans included two proposals for a footbridge. One would include stairs, and the other would include stairs and a ramp for wheelchair access.
Network Rail had built a temporary footbridge, without planning permission, at its Warren Lane crossing to replace the original bridge which had been closed in August.
But the rail operator was forced to close the temporary bridge in December after the council refused to grant retrospective planning permission.
Norma Evans, 68, of Warren Road, slammed the council’s latest decision, which now leaves Branston without a footbridge across the railway.
Instead, pedestrians must cross using the road bridge in Main Street which only has pavement on one side of the road.
Mrs Evans said: “I think it’s disgusting – the only way across the tracks now is over the road bridge which is dangerous.
“I don’ care what anybody says – I have to go over it – if the wagons come close they can whip you right up.
“From our garden you see how dangerous it is – I think it could fall at any time but I hope it doesn’t fall with anybody on it.
“We feel shut off from the rest of the village unless you go over that bridge.”
But councillor Mick Bowering, said many residents were against the plans.
He said: “Police architectural liason officer tells us there is a dangr of antisocial behaviour if a bridge is built – this was evident when the temporary bridge was in place.
“But at the same time we must not allow Branston to be severed in such a way that we allow social, business and educational activity to be interrupted.”
Mr Bowering added that Network Rail and Staffordshire County Council highway’s department must work together to ensure the road bridge in Main Street can accommodate pedestrians safely.
He said: “They must work very closely together to ensure there are adequate and safe crossing points on Burton Road and Main Street.”
Mike Ackroyd, chairman of Branston Parish Council, said: “We did not agree with either of the proposals put forward. We want something which will benefit the whole of Branston.”