Conservative Group Leader and Councillor for Copmanthorpe Ward Chris Steward has continued to battle for the Beckett’s level crossing on the east of Copmanthorpe to only be closed if there is a proper alternative which is proper access for all.
At a recent meeting discussing the subject, councillors were asked to approve the objection to a Network Rail plan to close the Beckett’s level crossing and reroute the footpath over a new bridge further north on the railway line. Network Rail wants to close the crossing as part of a national strategy to reduce the number of crossings and because it will enable them to invest in improvements to the east / west rail line and reduce journey times. The motion was duly passed by all councillors with concerns that Network Rail’s proposed new bridge with stepped access will be unsuitable for many users including those in wheelchairs, with visibility problems or those with pushchairs.
Network Rail has the rights under permitted development to build the new bridge but they need approval to close the bridge, this approval would now need to follow a Public Enquiry where City of York Council will provide representation as will local Conservative representatives.
Cllr Steward said ‘If the right bridge is built we would accept the closure of the level crossing but any building that is done must strive to make access easier for disabled people and certainly not make it worse. If the new bridge was to be built it would be right next to the new Gladman housing site that the village will see in the years ahead and no doubt in time we would see ramps added to the bridge to improve access for all, it therefore makes no sense economically or morally not to get this done now to benefit everyone’.
Cllr Mike Nicholls, councillor for Bishopthorpe added ‘this path is a vital link between Copmanthorpe and Bishopthorpe and especially in the summer a lovely walk with the associated benefits for physical and mental health. The new bridge would see a diversion and slightly lengthened route which can be accepted but only if the bridge can be used by all.’