Friday, 24 September 2021

Victory in sight for pavement campaign

A LONG-RUNNING campaign to widen a stretch of pavement along a main road in Goring is nearing a result.

Network Rail has agreed in principle to remove the old rusty crash barrier that runs along the railway track in Wallingford Road, near the railway bridge at the top of High Street.

This will create extra clearance on the walkway so it is more than a metre wide, enabling enough space for a wheelchair user to travel safely between the village centre and the station in Gatehampton Road.

However, although Network Rail believes the barrier is no longer required and has offered to pay the cost of removal, Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, must agree that this will not endanger road users before it can go ahead.

Council officers have agreed to discuss the issue at a meeting in the spring with members of the village’s mobility issues group and Goring Parish Council.

If the work is permitted, Network Rail will install a new fence further back towards the railway embankment.

The mobility issues group has been campaigning for the move for more than five years as part of a bid to make the station more accessible.

Previously, it successfully lobbied for lifts to be installed as part of a new passenger footbridge and was supported by Henley MP John Howell.

John Boler, who chairs the group, said: “We’ve asked the county council to understand the importance of this issue.

“It is a small decision with big implications and shouldn’t be overlooked as a trivial request.

“They’ve already accepted that the barrier would be ineffective at preventing a vehicle incursion on to the railway so it shouldn’t be much of a logical leap to allow this, especially as it will cost them nothing.”

Kevin Bulmer, who chairs the parish council and is the village’s county councillor, said: “I totally agree with John and would encourage the county’s officers to be as co-operative as possible on this.”

A date for the meeting is yet to be confirmed.

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