New footbridge set to make rail crossing safer

Artists impressions of a new footbridge being planned across the railway line at Warblington
Artists impressions of a new footbridge being planned across the railway line at Warblington
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DETAILED plans have been submitted for a railway footbridge that could alleviate safety concerns at a level crossing.

For years people have been campaigning for a footbridge across the railway line at Southleigh Road, Warblington.

The barriers can be closed for more than 20 minutes at a time and schoolchildren have been known to try to rush across the level crossing.

Developers have now submitted plans to build the footbridge on Network Rail land between Warblington station and Southleigh Road.

The plans are part of infrastructure improvements tied in with a proposal to build a 191-home development at the Manor Farm and Copsey’s Nursery site, although no planning application for the homes has been formally submitted.

The bridge, made of galvanised steel, would be 114ft in length and around 24ft high.

Developers want to paint the bridge light grey, with additional artwork by Warblington School.

Keith Chessell, of Castle Avenue, Warblington, who was chairman of governors at Warblington School for almost a decade, welcomed the plans.

He said: ‘It would help the schoolchildren who come to Warblington.

‘At the moment they crowd up on either side of the barrier.

‘As soon as the barriers come up, they rush across.

‘If there are queues of cars there’s a problem. Historically there have been two children who have been hit by cars, although not seriously hurt.

‘On balance I think it would be a lot safer route to school.’

The plans have been submitted to Havant Borough Council by London-based Ardent Consulting Engineers.

CCTV and lighting would be provided on the bridge to increase security.

Most of the bridge would be built off-site, minimising the need for road and rail closures.

A planning report states: ‘The new bridge will provide an alternative route for pedestrians and bicycles and reduce average pedestrian journey times. Separating pedestrians from the queuing vehicles will improve the efficiency of the level crossing and reduce the potential for conflict.’

A gully will be provided on the bridge for cyclists to wheel over their bikes. However, pram and wheelchair users would still need to use the level crossing.