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Friday March 05 2021

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In Full . . .

‘Skulduggery’ over footpath

Posted on February 29 2016 at 1:49:14

The chairman of Barnt Green Parish Council has accused Network Rail of “skulduggery” and “gross mismanagement” over the closure of the railway footpath at Cofton Hackett.

In a report to fellow councillors, Robert Cholmondeley said that the council felt “snubbed” because Network Rail’s dedicated Footpath & Crossing team “ducked out” of a public meeting to discuss the initial closure last October:

“Those left to carry the can could not answer many of the points raised, and Network Rail has not addressed these points in our correspondence.

“They have stated that the crossing is managed as two [crossings], hence the central reservation – yet in the reasons given for the extension of the temporary closure, the statistics are based on managing it without the central reservation. Duplicity, I suggest.”

The temporary closure of the footpath, originally lasting until January 2016, has now been extended for a further year, and the parish council is liaising with Network Rail for a public consultation on alternative methods of crossing the railway.

Coun Cholmondeley also complained that the side wall of the Hewell Lane railway bridge is now unlikely to be finished until July, and that there had been no movement on the installation of lifts on the footbridge at Barnt Green station.

* Meanwhile, Network Rail is carrying out “some remedial and holding works” to try to drain the “Great Lake of Alvechurch” in the station car park.

The work was due to begin as The Village went to press and be completed by Sunday March 6.

The work has been criticised by Alvechurch Parish Council, which said similar previous attempts to solve problems at the car park had failed.

At the same time, Network Rail was still to come up with proposals to remove and replace the ugly concrete blocks lining the side of Station Road.

The parish council is contacting the planning inspector who approved the new station to see if there is any way to enforce her recommendations for the car park.

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