Wareham railway crossing bridge plans refused

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An artist's impression of the Wareham Station footbridge planImage source, Dorset County Council
Image caption,
Dorset County Council said the footbridge would "provide a safer, permanent crossing facility"

Revised plans to upgrade a rail footbridge at a "dangerous" level crossing have been refused by councillors.

Dorset County Council's proposals for the existing Wareham station footbridge involved creating new step-free ramps up to the bridge at either side.

But the council's regulatory committee voted unanimously to reject the scheme.

Committee members said the new plans failed to preserve the character of the Grade II listed structure.

The level crossing, which was once branded one of the most dangerous in the country, is due to be shut as part of a national programme of closures over safety concerns.

'Significant impact'

During the meeting in Wareham, councillor Shane Bartlett urged members to defer the decision to allow further discussion of alternative solutions with National Rail.

The scheme was also opposed by Purbeck District Council, which said it would have "a significant impact upon the character and appearance of the area".

Residents also voiced fears it would cut the town in half by adding more time to journeys across the tracks.

Dorset County Council, which is working with Network Rail on the proposals, had said the revamped footbridge would "provide a safer, permanent crossing facility".

A Network Rail spokesman said: "We are obviously disappointed with the outcome. We will now carefully consider next steps with the county council."

CCTV released in 2009 showed a mother pushing her baby in a pram across the rail line as a train approached.

In 2010, manually operated gates were installed at the crossing as a temporary solution.

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