A recent debate about the provision of a footbridge at Bramley level crossing on the Bramley Community Facebook page has been brought to the attention of the Parish Council. In particular a number of claims have been made about the role of the Parish Council in the ongoing debate about a footbridge from as far back as 2014. The Parish Council would like to address these claims.
It is claimed that there have been a number of accidents and fatalities over the years at the level crossing. It is true that there have been a few accidents, but these have been due more to careless driving than with any issue with the crossing itself. The last fatality at Bramley Station was back in 1974, and occurred on the railway line between the platforms at Bramley Station. This had little to do with the level crossing. It should be noted that Network Rail has in their safety studies not declared Bramley level crossing as anything more than a medium risk level crossing.
(see the Hansard reference: https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1974/nov/05/railway-accident-bramley )
It has also been implied that Bramley Parish Council, in collusion with Labour ward councillors at Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council (BDBC), opposed a Local Infrastructure Fund (LIF) submission for funds for a footbridge in 2014/15. This is not the case. The Ward Councillor at the time, who opposed the LIF submission for funds, was in fact an Independent and thus not allied to either of the main political parties. At the BDBC Scrutiny Committee meeting in November 2014 he, amongst others, outlined a number issues and flaws with the LIF application for funds which were supported by other party councillors. In addition to this, Bramley Parish Council remains politically neutral, and party politics have no part in the Parish Council’s meetings or decision processes.
Whilst the Parish Council is not against a footbridge in principle (as noted in the minutes of the PC meeting held on 17thNovember 2014), it opposed the footbridge project proposed in 2014/15 on several counts;
- Most importantly the proposed bridge was NON inclusive; ie, people with disabilities, mobility issues, with pushchairs and young children would be, by design, excluded. This would be against BDBC’s and Network Rail’s inclusivity policies and also against the views of many responsible and morally concerned citizens.
- The match funding from Network Rail detailed in the LIF submission was not forthcoming. In October 2014 £450,000 of LIF funding was ring-fenced by BDBC for 12 months whilst a feasibility study for the footbridge project was carried out by Network Rail. Network Rail confirmed in July 2015 that the proposed scheme could not be supported, and therefore would not put any funding towards the project. Without the match funding in place, BDBC withdrew the ring fencing and did not continue with the LIF application. Network Rail confirmed again to the Parish Council on 18th December 2018 that they do not currently have the resources to fund a bridge.
- The LIF application, submitted by one of the then Borough Councillors was not completed correctly, and was identified as flawed and lacking factual detail and evidence.
In 2014/15, Bramley Parish Council submitted its own application for LIF funding, to create a safe route to school and improve road safety in the level crossing area. This project is ongoing, and details can be found on the Bramley Parish Council website, in the meeting minutes section.
You can perform a search for “Road Safety Project” or you can click “Road Safety Project” to see the results of the search.