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County urged to ‘come clean’ over plans for town level crossing gates
THERE are calls for Oxfordshire County Council to ‘come clean’ over its plans for London Road level crossing in Bicester.
Once the new East West rail link opens in 2017, connecting Bicester with Milton Keynes, local councillors say they have been told the gates at Bicester Town station will be down for 24 minutes every hour, blocking a busy road into the town centre.
Concerns were raised at a meeting of Cherwell’s executive this week and leader Barry Wood said the council needed to say what options it thinks are for more trains on the level crossing and the required engineering work.”
It is understood the county council is looking at a number of options including building a bridge over the railway line for motorists and pedestrians.
Independent town, district and county councillor Les Sibley, right, told the meeting: “I have heard rumours the county council may be considering closing off the crossing gates.
He added: “I would hate the thought of a Berlin Wall being created to divide communities and deny access to traffic and pedestrians into Bicester ... the best option would be to leave the crossing as it is and the benefits of the rail link will clearly outweigh the pain.”
It comes as Cherwell became the first council in Oxfordshire to agree to back the rail link between Oxford and Bedford, via Bicester and Milton Keynes, costing almost £4.5m.
Oxfordshire County Council is being asked to contribute £11.1m over 15 years and Oxford City Council £4.7m. The county council refused to say what options it was considering and said “More feasibility work’s required before the council can publish its preferred strategy.”
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