Hampshire & Isle of Wight

'High risk' level crossing demonstration held in Sheet

Sheet level crossing protest
Image caption Parents said there have been three "near misses" since 2005 and that the crossing is too dangerous for children

Parents and children have demonstrated in favour of closing a level crossing next to a primary school in Hampshire.

Network Rail also wants to close the "high risk" unmanned crossing in Sheet and replace it with a ramped footbridge for pedestrians.

But businesses in the area have objected to the closure of School Lane with a 2,000-signature petition, stating it would damage passing trade.

Network Rail has closed more than 800 level crossings in the past five years.

'Double barrier instead'

Parents said there had been three "near misses" since 2005 and that the crossing was too dangerous for children.

Julia Willmott, a mother, said: "Daily, toddlers and children cross over an unmanned railway crossing next to Sheet Primary School, which carries over 100 trains a day travelling up to 90mph."

Camilla Bushill, from Network Rail, who attended the demonstration, said Sheet level crossing was deemed a "high risk" automatic half barrier on a narrow lane that was "used regularly by vehicles as a rat run".

Tina Hughes, whose 14-year-old daughter Olivia was killed on Elsenham crossing in Shropshire, joined the demonstration as well as road safety charity Brake's mascot Zak the Zebra.

But other residents want Network Rail to install a double barrier instead so that the road would not have to close.

Claire McCutcheon, from The Harrow Inn, in nearby Steep, said: "Thirty pubs a week go into the wall, and we don't want to be one of them.

"We've only got three roads in, and if they take away one of them we've only got two roads in."

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