15:52 Friday 22 February 2013

New meeting planned over controversial bridge

Written byBY HELEN KREFT

ANOTHER public meeting will be held over plans to build an ‘enormous’ rail bridge in Branston.

Members of Branston Parish Council is busy planning to hold a meeting with villagers to gauge public opinion before deciding whether to object to Network Rail’s two applications for a bridge connecting Warren Lane to Bramell Close.

The rail giant has submitted two alternative planning applications for the same site as it seeks to reduce the risk of what it claims is misuse at the Warren Lane level crossing.

One is a bridge with ramps and stairs, the other option is a stepped footbridge with additional work to the existing road bridge at Burton Road.

Some parish councillors were split in their opinions, with Nigel Slater saying: “They will put it there because of concern over public safety but they don’t have to do it if they don’t want to do it.”

Another councillor, John Yates, said: “At the moment there are people in Warren Lane completely cut off from the village. It should be ramped for the buggies and parents and children going to the school.”

However, Councillor Fred Smith said: “I wouldn’t like to be looking outside my bedroom window at that. They have just moved it a few doors away.

“(Those that live near the bridge) will have to put up with the drug taking and vandalism.”

Councillor Slater added: “I would rather see an eyesore at the end of my road because if an accident happened I couldn’t live with myself.”

Patricia Ackroyd, who represents Branston on East Staffordshire Borough Council, said: “The ramps are enormous and it will have a big effect on people

The stepped ones are smaller but doesn’t allow access for everyone. We hoping that a third solution will come up.

“Network Rail han’t just done this on a whim. This is a scheme in the whole country looking to get children over a safe crossing which is accessible to everyone.

“I have been inundated with emails - not one of them in support of a bridge.”

The proposals were submitted after the rail company was forced to demolish its previous footbridge it put up without permission.

The date of the public meeting has not yet been fixed.

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