Friday, 27 November 2020

Cash boost for group's road safety scheme

A CAMPAIGN to widen a narrow pavement near Goring station has received a £5,000 pledge from

A CAMPAIGN to widen a narrow pavement near Goring station has received a £5,000 pledge from the parish council.

The authority has agreed to pay the grant towards the £100,000 project next year as long as it receives the rest of the funding it needs.

The Mobility Issues Group for Goring and Streatley wants to widen a stretch of walkway in Wallingford Road, which is less than 1m wide, to more than 1.25m.

It says this is enough for two people with wheelchairs, mobility scooters, prams or pushchairs to pass without stepping into the road.

The pavement, which lies between the Reading Road and High Street junctions, would be extended backwards on to land owned by Network Rail, which has given provisional permission.

The area slopes downwards so the extension would have to be propped up on a parapet. Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, may be willing to take responsibility for maintenance.

John Boler, the mobility group’s chairman, told a parish council meeting last week: “The pledge we’re asking from you is a sprat to catch a mackerel — the mackerel in this case being a larger grant from First Great Western.

“We hope they will provide between £80,000 and £92,000 depending on the final cost of the project. We have already received £5,000 in private pledges and a considerable amount of pro bono work from Arup, which has put forward a workable solution to widening the pavement on such a steep embankment.

“Pedestrians will be able to walk side by side and passengers with bulky luggage will also be able to walk to the station safely. We need to raise £1 in every £5 towards this locally and all we are asking from you is 50p out of every £5.”

Mr Boler said the scheme was the “final piece in a bigger picture” of improvements at the station, where First Great Western recently installed disabled access toilets.

Network Rail is installing a new footbridge as part of its electrification scheme that includes three passenger lifts which will open next year. Mr Boler said there were more than 60,000 pedestrian movements on Wallingford Road every year so many people would benefit. He first asked the council for a £5,000 pledge last October but was turned down as the proposal was at too early a stage.

But at last Monday’s meeting, the chairman Kevin Bulmer said: “I must say that getting a long—standing problem sorted out for £5,000 is really good value for money. John and the mobility group deserve all credit for the effort they’ve put into this.”

The council agreed to provide a letter endorsing the group’s funding bid to First Great Western, which has a £2.2million fund for works “not necessarily on railway infrastructure”.

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