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Compensation option for those in bridge’s shadow

Thursday 4th October 2012 (Andrew Griffiths)

TRANSPORT bosses will look at ways to compensate people whose lives have been affected by a controversial railway footbridge and improve disability access.

The pledges were made by Network Rail, which maintains Britain’s railway infrastructure, during a meeting with Burton MP Andrew Griffiths to discuss the footbridge that connects Old Road and Warren Lane in Branston.

Mr Griffiths told the Mail after his meeting with three Network Rail representatives: “They felt the previous pedestrian level crossing was a massive safety risk and we all agreed safety was the most important priority.”

The temporary footbridge was built without planning permission earlier this year to replace a pedestrian level crossing that had been described by Network Rail as ‘one of the most dangerous and misused’ crossings in the Midlands.

It had been the site of one suicide and 12 near-misses in the past five years.

But the new bridge, made from scaffolding poles and wood, has been criticised by residents and councillors.

The Tory MP said he raised three issues with Network Rail: the difficulty faced by people who attempted to use the bridge in wheelchairs or with prams, the lack of warning given to residents ahead of the bridge’s construction, and the damage to the amenity of the area.

“There has been an impact on residents who have to look out of their windows and see this hideous footbridge,”

Mr Griffiths said. “I told Network Rail I thought they should look at what they can do to compensate people for this, be that financially or in some form of gift or present.”

Network Rail has also agreed to look at installing wheelchair ramps on the new footbridge or improving disability access to the Main Street road bridge, which passes over the 125mph Derby to Birmingham line several hundred yards before the temporary pedestrian footbridge.

“It has been suggested it could take up to three years to replace this temporary footbridge with a permanent bridge,”

Mr Griffiths said. “This would be a disaster and would put unnecessary stress on the people living near to it.

“They are going to look at speeding up the building and planning process.

“Network Rail came along with a clear intention of finding practical solutions to the problems.”

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