OBJECTORS to the closure of a well-used railway foot crossing between Angmering and East Preston have one last chance to make their case later this month.
The future of Pagett’s Crossing, a couple of hundred yards east of Angmering station, has been in doubt for several years, amid safety fears over its use, especially following the death of a teenager who was struck by a train on New Year’s Day, 2007.
Now a Government inspector will decide whether the right of way should be closed, at a public hearing on Thursday, April 24 at Centenary House, Durrington, at 10am.
The inspector will hear evidence from those in favour and against the crossing being ‘extinguished’. For centuries, the footpath over the crossing has linked the two villages, and in more recent times has been well used by Angmering School students.
Loss of life
However, there have been numerous incidents and in November, 2011, Network Rail wrote to Angmering Parish Council, announcing its intention to approach West Sussex County Council with a view to closing the crossing.
“Since 2003,” the letter stated, “there have been reports of 16 incidents of crossing misuse and even a fatality where a youth lost his life, plus six near misses with trains.”
The following summer, East Preston Parish Council voted not to object to the closure, in spite of concerns expressed by some villagers, and in January this year Angmering Parish Council also decided it would not oppose the crossing being shut.
Among the objectors is Don Harris, of The Avenals, Angmering, who points out in his letter to the inspector that removing Pagett’s Crossing would lead to pedestrians facing an increased risk when they have to go over the railway with vehicles at the Roundstone level crossing, a few hundred yards further east.
He writes: “While people using Pagett’s Crossing only have to wait a minute or so to allow the trains to pass once they are in sight, pedestrians have to wait as long as five to ten minutes at the Roundsone crossing, to allow two or even three trains to pass through.
“This wait sometimes encourages drivers, and even pedestrians, to jump the lights, which in itself is a risk to everyone, including train passengers.”
Another objector, Geoffrey Gibbs, in his letter to the inspector, calls for extra safety measures at the crossing site, but if the closure decision is taken, says for a footbridge or underpass to be provided.