A RAIL company which was forced to dismantle its controversial rail crossing has now submitted two alternative plans.
Network Rail recently 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 in Branston.
It ranked the level crossing as amongst the worst on the East Midlands route for misuse and it was closed in August last year.
However, it then built the controversial footbridge without planning permission leading to fury from nearby residents, Zena Bromfield and Dawn Carter, who said they had no privacy and were never consulted.
East Staffordshire Borough Council then refused permission for the bridge after demanding a planning application be lodged - forcing the company to create alternative plans.
In recommending that the council’s planning committee reject the plans, Jim Malkin, the council’s planning manager, said: “The bridge, by reason of its design and materials, is bulky, incongruous and entirely incompatible with the surrounding residential context to the detriment of the character and appearance of the locality.”
He also added that because the new bridge is just 1.7 metres away from homes, in Bramell Close, it ‘results in a development which has an overbearing and intrusive impact on these homes, while also resulting in a loss of outlook and direct sunlight to the rear of these properties.’
The bridge was then dismantled in December which was welcomed by the residents who then attended a consultation event to talk about three alternative proposals for the crossing.
Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “We have seen many incidents and 12 very concerning near misses at this crossing since 2005 and simply could not allow the risk posed by misuse to remain.
“Following public events to discuss our plans we have developed two options. One is a bridge with ramps and stairs, which makes it a very large structure but is fully accessible to all users.
“The other option is for a simple stepped footbridge with additional work to the existing road bridge at Burton Road to allow full access across the railway to all users.
“The two applications reflect our commitment to find a solution which balances the requirements of neighbours who may find a structure obtrusive and users whose mobility is impaired.”