Plans for a pedestrian footbridge spanning the town’s railway near Southgate level crossing have proved controversial in the past and are now up for public scrutiny by the planning authority.
Neighbours, interested parties and the public are now being invited to comment on the proposals put forward by Network Rail for a revised bridge design after initial options were discounted as unfavourable.
This improved design is conceived by funding partners North Kesteven District Council, Lincolnshire County Council and Network Rail.
Although official applicants Network Rail are legally entitled to develop their operational land and assets without planning permission – a process called prior approval - because of the closeness of the proposed bridge to the older railway station, it requires Listed Buildings Consent.
The closing date for comments is November 27, with a view to it being considered by a NKDC planning committee during December or January. The plans can be seen at council offices in Sleaford and at www.n-kesteven.gov.uk/plan ningonline ref: 14/1397/LBC
The bridge is designed to maintain easy, safe, pedestrian, wheelchair, pushchair and cycle access over the tracks, while fulfilling all engineering needs, and exceeding disability access requirements. It has a 1:24 slope gradient with rest platforms, broad steps, integral lighting and open visibility for better personal safety and, being within the station’s footprint, it allows better access for station users and more people from the London Road and Grantham Road as it will link up to new car parking planned south of the tracks.
NKDC’s economic development manager Alan Gray said: “It is important for the wider, long-term development of Sleaford that we achieve improved, easy and safe access for people to get across the rail tracks at all times – rather than be hindered by closures every time trains pass through. There is a common aim that the footbridge unites the two sides of Sleaford currently split by the tracks and closed barriers; allowing for free movement at all times; removing the risk of people jumping on to the rails and introducing a striking feature to the streetscene.”