Sopwell Rail Crossing - Lib Dem Cllr Sandy Walkington Boosts Residents Petition With Successful Council Motion

sandy SopwellAt the County Council meeting on 27 November, Sopwell Residents Association (St Albans) brought a petition signed by more than 1,000 residents, against the closure of the right of way across Cottonmill Railway Crossing.

The crossing predates the construction of the railway and continues to be a vital link for local residents to access schools, shops and businesses. It also forms part of a 'Green Ring' route around the centre of St Albans, used by thousands of cyclists and walkers each day. Should the closure take place it would in fact cut the Sopwell community in two. Pedestrians and other users would be forced to use alternative and less safe routes in order to reach their destinations. Residents currently avoid using Cottonmill Lane because it is a fast road with limited pedestrian walkways. It would also add 30-40 minutes to journeys and inevitably put more cars on the road.

Congratulating Sopwell Residents Association for their work in bringing the well supported petition to Council, Sandy Walkington, Liberal Democrat for St Albans South, proposed a motion that the Council resolve to write to Network Rail calling on them to halt their plans to close the crossing and instead come up with better safety precautions including warning lights.

Sandy pointed out that the move to close the crossing had insufficient evidence to close this heavily used crossing and was a wholly disproportionate measure at this point on the track so close to the station.

The motion was supported unanimously by all members, giving the County's Rights of Way team full support and political backing when they deal with Network Rail.