Saturday, 22 September 2018

Widened pavement at railway station moves step forward

A NARROW stretch of pavement near Goring station is a step closer to being widened.

Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, and Network Rail have agreed to carry out a risk assessment on the proposed removal of a rusty iron barrier that separates the pavement from the railway in Wallingford Road. Officers are expected to visit the site today (Friday).

If they give the go-ahead then the walkway, which is less than a metre wide in places, could be extended towards the railway so it would be at least 1.25m wide, enough for two people to pass without one stepping into the street. The embankment beneath the new pavement could be built up to support it.

The idea was first suggested by Goring’s mobility issues group several years ago and Network Rail supported it in principle but the county council feared that removing the barrier would be dangerous.

Now, following a series of favourable reports including a traffic survey funded by Great Western Railway, the council says it may reconsider. The work would cost about £100,000 and it’s hoped that GWR would make a significant contribution towards it.

John Boler, the mobility group's chairman, said it would be the “last piece in the jigsaw” of improving the station for disabled users. A footbridge with passenger lifts was installed by Network Rail in 2015 while GWR, then known as First Great Western, installed disabled toilets in the same year.

The bridge wasn’t going to have lifts but Network Rail agreed to fund the work after the group launched a petition and Henley MP John Howell delivered it to Parliament, prompting talks between the company and the Government.

Mr Boler said: “The obstacle for the past year has been the county council’s reluctance to let Network Rail remove the barrier. However, our report found evidence that reduced the perceived risk of a traffic incident interfering with the railway.

“It’s taken a while to get Network Rail and the council’s heads together. We’re crossing our fingers that they will take a constructive approach.”

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