Mike Whittingham and Darren Heatley with sons Jack and Harry

Article by Billericay Gazette: A bridge planned to be built over a level crossing in Billericay is unnecessary and will make the crossing unusable, say residents.

Network Rail has announced it will be installing the bridge as part of its improvement plan, which will see six flat level crossings in Essex replaced with footbridges or underpasses.

Residents in West Park Avenue, whose properties back onto the crossing, claim creating a bridge is senseless, as the current crossing is not dangerous.

They argue the changes will in fact make the path unusable to many pedestrians, particularly the elderly and parents with young children.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Darren Heatley"]We are dead against it. It's an invasion of privacy as people on the bridge will be able to see in my garden and there will be noise doing it overnight. We don't know when work will start and we haven't had one penny of compensation. I would like to see it stopped – we have tried to fight it. We were only notified it was happening when a neighbour found out. It will be hard for my wife to get over the bridge with a pushchair.[/quote]

Building of the bridge was supposed to start in November but has not yet commenced and residents have been left in the dark over Network Rail's plans.

Another resident of West Park Avenue, Mike Whittingham, 62, explained why he believes there is no need for the bridge.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Mike Whittingham"]I have been battling it for some time. Noise will be an issue, as will people overlooking our gardens, along with all the other problems with having it at the end of our properties. The other point is people that currently have use of the crossing won't be able to use it – with push-chairs or the elderly. I think this is a huge security risk for people at night – there is no provision in the plans for lighting and cameras. It'll be an ideal place for muggers. Network Rail is also incapable of maintaining the crossing as it stands in winter, so how will it put down salt if they don't now? People will be falling from high up, so it will be dangerous.[/quote]

The bridge will have three levels of steps, which pedestrians will have to negotiate.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Mike Whittingham"]I would say that crossing was used at least 600 times a day. The shops on Goosebery Green will suffer as the older people and parents that go to those facilities won't be able to get there anymore. It will certainly be more of a hindrance – I don't see the need. To our recollection there has been no fatality on that crossing. Why don't we fence off all roads if the crossing is a safety concern?[/quote]

Article and image by Billericay Gazette

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