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Anger over plans to close South Lakeland railway crossing
PLANS to close a South Lakeland level crossing have been met with anger by residents.
Network Rail has this week applied to Cumbria County Council for permission to shut down the Bayley Lane crossing at Grange-over-Sands, despite ‘overwhelming’ opposition from the town council and local people.
“This is a well-used and important historic public footpath and there is widespread support throughout the town to keep it open,” said town council leader, Coun Tom Harvey.
“Grange Town Council have been in discussions with Network Rail for several months to try to ascertain what the real safety concerns are and only last month, after a site visit, we agreed with them that they would initially look at ways to make the crossing safer instead.”
He said they had discussed the possibilities of better signage and improved visibility through the removal of overgrown trees and shrubs.
“It’s something of a shock that they have decided to bypass the local community and apply for closure,” he added.
However, the rail company has branded the crossing ‘risky’, saying a child was killed crossing the tracks 25 years ago.
A Network Rail spokesman said: “It’s a long-standing issue.
“A little child was killed there in 1988 and it’s a risky crossing just because of the number of people that use it.
“We don’t want to wait for another tragedy to occur before we take action.”
He said a ‘near-miss’ also occurred in September.
A survey in August found 4,000 people used it over a nine-day period, including children, elderly people and people on mobility scooters.
“It’s a route from the town centre to the promenade but we found it was even more heavily used than we thought,” continued the spokesman.
“Where you have that number of people using it the risk is obviously higher.”
A £1.3million subway under the line was built as an alternative to the level crossing in 2006.
Their plans have the support of South Lakes MP Tim Farron, who said: “This crossing is one of the most dangerous in the region and the sooner we can make it safer, the better.”
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