New railway footbridge is approved

How the new footbridge will look.
How the new footbridge will look.

A new £1million foot bridge has been approved over the railway line at Little Bowden.

The stepped foot bridge replaces the pedestrian crossing over the railway line that was abruptly closed by Network Rail in August 2015 on safety grounds.

But members of Little Bowden Society claim the new footbridge will simply increase the danger to pedestrians in another part of Little Bowden.

The new footbridge between Braybrooke Road and Glebe Road was approved by a majority of Harborough District Council’s planning committee on Tuesday night.

Councillors were told that alternatives, including a pram and wheelchair friendly ramped bridge or even a subway, were rejected because they required too much room.

The report to councillors said the ramped bridge “could not be achieved without demolishing one or more houses”.

Cllr Michael Rook had argued that a stepped footbridge prevented young mums with pushchairs getting to the local school and wheelchair-users getting to the leisure centre.

“We have to look again at this” he said. “I don’t accept that ramping is impossible.”

Cllr Sindy Modha agreed, saying: “It’s a shame there isn’t another alternative.”

But a majority of councillors backed Cllr Grahame Spendlove-Mason who proposed approving the bridge.

He said: “I wouldn’t fancy using the old crossing at all. After going to the site and seeing the bridge that is proposed, I don’t see how Network Rail could alter it.”

Cllr Neville Hall added: “This is the only alternative that can go ahead.”

The old pedestrian crossing was considered one of the most dangerous in the East Midlands, said Network Rail.

The nearest alternative crossing is via the vehicular underpass at Scotland Road.

Little Bowden Society’s Di Potter said the council must now look at the safety of pedestrians, prams and wheelchairs on Scotland Road.