08:00 Wednesday 05 December 2012

Controversial footbridge is to close after protests

Written byHELEN KREFT

A CONTROVERSIAL footbridge will be shut this week just four months after it was built, despite residents’ fury.

Branston footbridge
Branston footbridge

Following the refusal by East Staffordshire Borough Council to keep its new Warren Lane crossing at Branston, and subsequent meetings with residents, Network Rail will close the footbridge today.

The news has been welcomed by residents Zena Bromfield and Dawn Carter whose homes overlooked the bridge and led to a successful battle with the rail giants.

Mrs Bromfield, of Bramell Close, said: “It is absolutely brilliant. Dawn and I are over the moon.

“Network Rail has been in contact with us since the public meetings and there are three proposals they are looking at.”

The footbridge replaced the original level crossing which the rail company ranked among the worst on the East Midlands route for misuse and it was closed in August following the opening of the controversial footbridge — which was built without planning permission.

East Staffordshire Borough Council refused permission for the bridge after demanding a planning application be lodged — forcing the company to create alternative plans.

The subsequent consultation showcased three options — two styles of bridge to replace the temporary footbridge currently in place, or enhancing a nearby lower footbridge.

However, Mrs Bromfield said she was concerned that an alternative bridge could be moved closer to many of her other neighbours.

She said: “We thought it (the battle) was over but we will keep fighting as we cannot have the bridge moving near to any homes.”

A spokesman for Network Rail confirmed the footbridge will close today, with removal work starting at the weekend.

He added: “We are not moving the bridge anywhere near any homes.

“We are still progressing with the three options that were discussed during the consultation.

“We are consulting with residents and working with the local council and will be submitting applications before Christmas.”

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