Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Residents fight crossing closure


A woman is caught on film running across the crossing with a pram

Plans to close a "dangerous" pedestrian railway crossing in Dorset are causing anger among local people.

CCTV footage released by Network Rail showed pedestrians risking their lives at Wareham crossing, including a mother pushing her baby in a pram.

It said it was one of the worst in the UK for people crossing on a red light and it wanted to close it in December.

Residents fighting to save the crossing claim its closure would cut the town in half.

It is the main route for pedestrians and cyclists to get from one side of Wareham to the other.

Transport Minister, Chris Mole, said the crossing was one of the most dangerous in the UK.

Network Rail said no final decision had been made on the proposed closure.

It said members of the public were putting themselves at risk by misusing the crossing and installing electronic gates "wouldn't stop the abuse".

'Split in two'

The body, which runs the rail network, said it had taken measures to deter people from crossing on a red light, including installing CCTV, publicising the dangers and putting police at the crossing.

A spokeswoman said: "We have recommended to the council to jointly support building a new footbridge, complete with ramps, and are currently waiting to hear their feedback."

A public meeting is being held on Wednesday night to discuss plans to close the crossing.

The closure would have a disastrous impact on the vitality of the town
Annette Brooke, MP

Annette Brooke, Liberal Democrat MP for Mid-Dorset and North Poole, raised their issue in Parliament.

"The town is fortunate in being on the main London to Weymouth line, but as a consequence it does have a barrier which potentially can split the town into two," she told the Commons.

"The closure would have a disastrous impact on the vitality of the town, on the business communities, social activities and the whole wider community.

"Wareham is a vibrant town with many restaurants and pubs, many individual shops and it is of course suffering from the recession.

"My constituents, from the far side of the railway do walk and cycle into town for many activities.

"A recent survey showed how 1,200 people use the crossing in just one day."

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