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New path danger fears

Posted on June 30 2017 at 1:31:46

Closure notice

Network Rail’s closure of two railway footpath crossings is still on the agenda for village parish councils.

Lickey & Blackwell councillors heard that a number of residents were still unhappy about the closure of the “yellow brick” road crossing from Fairways Drive to the public footpath across Blackwell golf course, which Network Rail says is too dangerous as the new electrification masts obscure the sighting of trains.

Since May, walkers have been diverted via Linthurst Newtown and Blackwell Road, and Network Rail says there are no viable alternatives.

However, councillors expressed concerns over the safety of the route, which involves crossing Blackwell Road.

Coun Janet King said: “Cars come very fast round that corner and there was a bad accident there recently. We need to contact the county council with a view to lowering the speed limit.”

She added: “There is no room to create a footpath along the verge, and Network Rail proposes creating a safe path on the field side of the hedge, but walkers will still have to negotiate the busy road first.”

Meanwhile, Barnt Green parish councillors questioned Richard Dugdale, sponsor for Network Rail’s electrification project, about the similar railway crossing at Cofton Hackett.

Closed since summer 2015 for safety reasons (left), this is due to be replaced by a £1 million footbridge as a diversion would be too long. 

“We are investigating the most sustainable material for the bridge, which will probably be painted steel,” Mr Dugdale said.

“It is funded and on schedule, and we’re looking at September or October this year.”

Mr Dugdale also confirmed that the lifts at Barnt Green station would be in place by the end of the year: “The original design was challenged, so had to be re-done and go through planning again, but it will still be done by December.”

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