Fresh calls are being made for a new footbridge/cycleway over Spalding’s Winsover Road level crossing.
A new overhead bridge has the backing of councillors Angela Newton and Gary Taylor as well as a leading member of Spalding Civic Society, John Honnor, who believes an historic Act of Parliament that required a footbridge is still in force.
Mr Honnor said: “I looked up the old railway act, the Great Northern Railway Act of 1880, which says a footbridge should be provided at Winsover Road, which it was at the time but it was demolished about 20 years ago – now I am not so sure that wasn’t illegal because there’s still an Act of Parliament that says there should be a footbridge there.”
He raised the issue with council officials involved in a Spalding transport strategy project.
Mr Honnor said: “If it’s established that I am correct and that the act is still extant, then the authorities can go to Network Rail and demand that they put the bridge back, but I can’t do that personally – that has to come from some bigger guns. I think it’s worth a try.”
He said a bridge could span over the line from where the now demolished signal box stood and perhaps “drop down” in Lidl car park.
Mr Honnor says a bridge would make it far safer for pedestrians and cyclists – and Winsover Road could have a cycle lane if there were no parked cars along that side of the road.
Coun Taylor is fighting for a new footbridge alongside Jack McLean, who is a candidate in St John’s ward in the May elections, because they want to make the route safer for pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists – and to encourage more people to cycle.
But Mr McLean was told by a Network Rail official that the “crossing risk score” doesn’t currently require the company to install a crossing although “it has been recognised that there could be a need to install a bridge at some time in the future and the removal of the signal box will provide more space for such a bridge”.
Mr McLean said: “What we are missing from their response is any detail on what factors would constitute a need in the future, which should have been the basis of their response.”
Following Mr Honnor’s comments, Network Rail revealed its liabilities team is investigating.
A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are aware of the concerns relating to Winsover Road level crossing. There was a bridge which has been removed and we are checking our records to establish the reasons for its removal and what action may be appropriate in the future. We will be happy to work with the relevant local stakeholders on this issue.”