Council gets money for bridge at level crossing

John Broad, Bicester representative of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, is against plans for a bridge to be built over the London Road level crossing. Picture: OX64940 Jon Lewis

John Broad, Bicester representative of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, is against plans for a bridge to be built over the London Road level crossing. Picture: OX64940 Jon Lewis Buy this photo

First published in News by

A COUNCIL has won a multi-million pound grant to build a controversial bridge across a railway line in Bicester.

If comes after concerns were raised that planned rail improvements between Oxford, Bicester and Bedford would see the London Road crossing closed for up to 42 minutes in every hour.

This would have delayed traffic at the level crossing.

Oxfordshire County Council says it could get anything from £2.3m to £6.8m from the Government to fund a bridge and would seek more cash from the Local Enterprise Partnership.

But fears have been raised that the crossing is “too big a problem to be resolved” and it should be left as it is.

London Road is a busy access to Bicester town centre and has both residential and business properties in the area around the rail crossing.

John Broad, of Bicester CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) said: “I think someone’s mad. Imagine how far a slope will have to go to cover the bridge.

“All these people living on each side of London Road would look out at banking.

“Personally I would say close it. I don’t see it as a bigger problem than trying to build a bridge.”

He said the other option was to “let it run” and at peak times people would find a different route.

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London Road resident Brian Davies said: “I suspect there will be significant disruption to local property owners because obviously in order to clear the railway and electrification, the ramp for the bridge would have to start by Station Approach and the Shell garage. It would be quite a major feature.”

Independent town, district and county councillor Les Sibley said: “The rail crossing will cause inconvenience but with the improvements in services there is more gain than pain.

“People won’t want to open their windows and see a big flyover structure in front of their homes.

“The problems the rail crossing presents are probably too big a problem to resolve.

“They are going to have to spend a lot of money to overcome the problems and we have to ask: Is it worth it?”

Council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said the new rail services would mean the road would be closed too often.

He said: “The scheme is to provide an overbridge, or similar, to allow traffic to continue to travel freely.”

If approved, a bridge would be completed by March 2017.

As part of Chiltern Railways’ application for a Transport and Works Act order to carry out work on the Bicester/Oxford line, it looked at options for the crossing.

It concluded that the “only viable option at this location” was to retain a level crossing and provide updated and upgraded crossing control equipment.

The report warned that the site was “constrained”, there would be “extensive property acquisition and demolition”, and the project could cost in the region of £10m.

An underpass was ruled out due to flooding risk.

Graham Cross, Chiltern’s business development director, welcomed the decision and said the operator would work with the council.

Comments (6)

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5:44pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Central Bicester isn't rural England - it's the heart of urban England!

Depending on the bridge design, it's more likely to affect commercial premises than residential too.
Central Bicester isn't rural England - it's the heart of urban England! Depending on the bridge design, it's more likely to affect commercial premises than residential too. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

12:04pm Sat 1 Feb 14

CupHalfFull says...

Ah Andrew but there is an election coming up, and no doubt John Broad will be standing.
Ah Andrew but there is an election coming up, and no doubt John Broad will be standing. CupHalfFull
  • Score: 0

1:28pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Severian says...

Any bridge high enough to cross this line is likely to be massive and totally dominate that side of town. Bicester doesn't need any more eyesores. Surely there is enough elevation to allow for the lowering of the railway line by a few feet at the very least?

More importantly what is going to happen to the pedestrian crossing by the Garth Park - lots of kids use that crossing to get from New Langford to Longfields school. There is going to have to be a footbridge or underpass built otherwise it will be deadly.

What I can't understand is why these issues weren't resolved BEFORE planning permission was given to build the new railway line. Don't our planners do any planning any more?
Any bridge high enough to cross this line is likely to be massive and totally dominate that side of town. Bicester doesn't need any more eyesores. Surely there is enough elevation to allow for the lowering of the railway line by a few feet at the very least? More importantly what is going to happen to the pedestrian crossing by the Garth Park - lots of kids use that crossing to get from New Langford to Longfields school. There is going to have to be a footbridge or underpass built otherwise it will be deadly. What I can't understand is why these issues weren't resolved BEFORE planning permission was given to build the new railway line. Don't our planners do any planning any more? Severian
  • Score: 1

2:31pm Sat 1 Feb 14

CupHalfFull says...

Hi Severian
1) Railways are built by an Act of Parliament - this bypasses local planning - so the answer to your question is - no.
2) There is a new footbridge being constructed by Garth Park. If you google for Evergreen 3 you will find maps showing each and every crossing upgrade that Chiltern Railways have designed. Sheet 3 Work no.9 I believe.
Until we see the plans for the road bridge don't you think it would be wise to hold comment?
In fairness to Chiltern they have consulted widely with the responsible councils.
Hi Severian 1) Railways are built by an Act of Parliament - this bypasses local planning - so the answer to your question is - no. 2) There is a new footbridge being constructed by Garth Park. If you google for Evergreen 3 you will find maps showing each and every crossing upgrade that Chiltern Railways have designed. Sheet 3 Work no.9 I believe. Until we see the plans for the road bridge don't you think it would be wise to hold comment? In fairness to Chiltern they have consulted widely with the responsible councils. CupHalfFull
  • Score: 2

4:18pm Sat 1 Feb 14

Severian says...

CupHalfFull wrote:
Hi Severian
1) Railways are built by an Act of Parliament - this bypasses local planning - so the answer to your question is - no.
2) There is a new footbridge being constructed by Garth Park. If you google for Evergreen 3 you will find maps showing each and every crossing upgrade that Chiltern Railways have designed. Sheet 3 Work no.9 I believe.
Until we see the plans for the road bridge don't you think it would be wise to hold comment?
In fairness to Chiltern they have consulted widely with the responsible councils.
Thanks for this. We will have to wait for the bridge plans - but it's difficult to see how it will be anything other than massive. Personally I think there is no harm in raising concerns about the bridge before any serious design work is carried out.

Are you also saying that Tony Baldrys lot gave the go ahead for the railway without anyone in Bicester being consulted about the impact on the level crossing by the station? It appears that Chiltern Railways didn't want a bridge, so who has decided that we now are getting one?
[quote][p][bold]CupHalfFull[/bold] wrote: Hi Severian 1) Railways are built by an Act of Parliament - this bypasses local planning - so the answer to your question is - no. 2) There is a new footbridge being constructed by Garth Park. If you google for Evergreen 3 you will find maps showing each and every crossing upgrade that Chiltern Railways have designed. Sheet 3 Work no.9 I believe. Until we see the plans for the road bridge don't you think it would be wise to hold comment? In fairness to Chiltern they have consulted widely with the responsible councils.[/p][/quote]Thanks for this. We will have to wait for the bridge plans - but it's difficult to see how it will be anything other than massive. Personally I think there is no harm in raising concerns about the bridge before any serious design work is carried out. Are you also saying that Tony Baldrys lot gave the go ahead for the railway without anyone in Bicester being consulted about the impact on the level crossing by the station? It appears that Chiltern Railways didn't want a bridge, so who has decided that we now are getting one? Severian
  • Score: 0

2:37pm Mon 3 Feb 14

hagar1 says...

Can we see the plans for the bridge before we do the usual 'this won't work, this is wrong' panic? I notice Mr Broad is the Bicester representative of the CPRE - can I ask on whose behalf does he speak - certainly not mine!
Can we see the plans for the bridge before we do the usual 'this won't work, this is wrong' panic? I notice Mr Broad is the Bicester representative of the CPRE - can I ask on whose behalf does he speak - certainly not mine! hagar1
  • Score: 0

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