Havant council vows to foot £1.9m bill for new footbridge over Warblington railway line

A COUNCIL has vowed to pay the £1.9m bill for a railway footbridge that could ensure the safety of more than 450 schoolchildren and crack down on dangerous crossing.

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 12:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 5:33 pm

The structure would enable walkers and cyclists to cross the line at Warblington when the Southleigh Road level crossing gates are down.

Studies show the barriers trigger for up to 30 minutes an hour at peak times because of 12 trains that use the route.

Only two of these stop at Warblington Railway Station.

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An artist's impression of how the Warblington Footbridge could look. Havant councillors will consider allocating the final funds needed to investigate and build the structure.

The proposed bridge could benefit 450 Warblington School pupils who live north of the crossing gates.

Councillor Tim Pike, Havant Borough Council’s cabinet boss for planning, regeneration and communities, said: ‘If we can’t access money through any other route the borough council will step in to make sure this project is complete.

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‘It would be an improvement in safety for those pupils, but also for the many residents who don’t use the train station because they can’t get to the other side when a train is coming in – that can mean they are stuck there for some time.

‘A lot more residents would be prepared to use the train on a regular basis if they could get to both sides without having to worry about the gates.’

Funding for the project would come from the Community Infrastructure Levy that developers pay when they build new homes.

Havant councillors will be asked on February 26 to approve an allocation of £1,925,000 of current and future CIL funds to build the bridge.

It will be spent on choosing options for the build, making a detailed design and eventually constructing it after 2021.

It comes after £150,000 of funding was previously earmarked for a feasibility study into the bridge, which was also the subject of a now-expired planning application approved in 2013.

Cllr Pike said designs for it must now be updated to meet Network Rail requirements.

‘It needs to accommodate space for future electrification works and we need to think about how it might be made accessible in the future, because at the moment the plan is just for a stepped bridge,' he added.