A GOVERNMENT planning inspector has closed a well-used railway foot crossing between Angmering and East Preston amid safety fears.
The future of Pagett’s Crossing, a couple of hundred yards east of Angmering station, had been in doubt for several years following the death of a teenager who was struck by a train on New Year’s Day, in 2007.
In spite of supporters backing plans to keep the crossing, after a public hearing at Centenary House, in Durrington, planning inspector Peter Millman ruled against their argument.
In a report published on Thursday (May 15), Mr Millman concluded: “It seems to me that the balance is in favour of closure.
“I have considered the possibility of a tunnel or bridge, but it seems to me that this is not feasible.
“Whether I confirmed or refused to confirm the order there could be no guarantee that either a bridge or tunnel could be built.”
The application to close the crossing was submitted by West Sussex County Council on behalf of Network Rail.
Objectors to the closure pointed out that removing the 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.
However, Mr Millman felt this was not a strong enough reason to refuse the order.
He said: “I do not think that it can be doubted that this crossing, used in daylight by a responsible and reasonable person, is about as safe as a crossing with no barriers can be.
“There is also no doubt, however, that there is a history of misuse of the crossing, mainly by children, which has resulted in one death and more than 30 recorded incidents in a period of ten years prior to the application for the order in March, 2013.
“These incidents include six where children played ‘chicken’ in front of trains, four of placing objects such as pieces of ballast on the line, and five near misses.”