Local Level Crossing Threatened With Closure
Residents opposed to Network Rail proposal for Grove Park Terrace
Local people in Grove Park have warned that a proposal by Network Rail to close the widely-used level crossing at Grove Park Terrace, would have a "hugely negative" impact on the local community and would deny access to local schools and shops to motorists.
The company says it may close the crossing as part of its overall plan to shut down 500 crossings in the UK "for safety reasons.
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Over the next five years we’ll be investing more than £100m across Britain to improve safety at level crossings. As part of this, we have committed to close a further 500 crossings, in addition to more than 800 closed over the last five years.
“Grove Park Terrace crossing in Chiswick is a crossing we have identified for potential closure, however it is still early days and no specific plans have been developed. We want to ensure that whatever solution is proposed for the crossing is right for this particular location and the people who live and work in the area."
Local MP Mary Macleod, who has met with Network Rail says she has been told that if the level crossing were to be closed, a new pedestrian bridge with disabled access would be built in its place and this would take 18-24 months to complete.
This would ensure pedestrians could still cross by using the overhead bridge. A closure would mean cars could no longer use the railway crossing.
"If the level crossing were to remain in use, it would become an Obstacle Detection Crossing. Unfortunately, this would do nothing to improve the safety of the crossing, which Network Rail tell me has been the sight of numerous reported incidents both for pedestrians and motorists," she said.
The Grove Park Group said that if safety concerns could not be adequately addressed and the crossing were closed, it would in effect cut off ‘Fauconberg Village’ from the rest of Grove Park and would probably ensure even worse daily gridlock on Sutton Court Road, as well as blocking easy access to and from Hartington Road and Strand-on-the-Green.
Work being carried out by Network Rail in May ( image Andy Murray) -the pedestrian bridge on right of picture
Local resident Roy Battersby, who lives a short distance away said he was unaware of any safety issues with the crossing, which was a well-used thoroughfare.
"The crossing is fitted with a high visibility system of safety lights, warning sounds, closing gates and I expect the statistics would actually show it poses less ‘danger’ than crossing the road."
He said the effects of closure on motorists would be to split the N(E) from the S(W) ends, make Grove Park Road and Hartington Road inaccessible from the north, and add greatly to the traffic on Sutton Court Road and surrounding streets by closing a route giving direct access to Chiswick Station, Chiswick Bridge and Kew Bridge.
"Direct access to the amenities of Strand on the Green (including the school there) and the riverside path would be lost, long established parts of the highly valued amenities of the area would be inaccesible except on foot. There would be no direct access to the school in Grove Park Terrace from the S(W) end, the school which has only this year doubled its pupil numbers."
Mary Macleod said that it was vital for Network Rail to consider local opinion when coming to a decision about the Level Crossing and has written to local residents on Grove Park Terrace encouraging them to respond to her with their views about the possible closure. She will then give the feedback to the rail company.
"If any plans were to progress further, there would be the normal consultation process around Grove Park.”
October 30, 2014