Rail firm can replace bridge without ramps

Bob Price

Bob Price

First published in News

WHEELCHAIR users, cyclists and parents with pushchairs are no closer to getting ramps on a South Oxford railway footbridge.

Network Rail (NR) has won a battle against Oxford City Council which means it can replace Grandpont Bridge with a like-for-like replacement.

The council refused NR permission for the rebuild because it wanted the firm to fit ramps on the bridge which runs from near Whitehouse Road to Hogacre Common Eco Park.

The Government’s Planning Inspectorate found in favour of NR on July 16 but council leader Bob Price last night vowed to keep fighting the firm.

He said: “We think it is ludicrous in the context of the Equality Act 2010.

“The replacement bridge will be there for 100 years or so, yet we are not accommodating people with disabilities or pushchairs.”

The Planning Inspectorate also ruled in the company’s favour in a similar case regarding Hinksey Footbridge earlier this year.

The council has written to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to ask for support in both cases.

Mr Price said the council had not spent any money on the appeal, using the same evidence it prepared to refuse planning permission in the first place.

NR is replacing a total of 29 bridges in Oxfordshire as part of its £2bn electrification of the Great Western Mainline from London to Cardiff.

Spokesman Russell Spink said: “As a taxpayer-funded organisation, we have to strike a balance between building a replacement bridge that meets the needs both of the railway and the community with the limited funds available.

“We fully appreciate the concerns regarding accessibility at the Hinksey bridge and we will continue looking at opportunities to develop an improved design should additional funds become available.”

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Comments (6)

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10:50am Wed 30 Jul 14

Oxonian says...

"Spokesman Russell Spink said: 'As a taxpayer-funded organisation, we have to strike a balance between building a replacement bridge that meets the needs both of the railway and the community with the limited funds available'."

Some of those taxpayers who pay Spink's wages are disabled, and they deserve to be treated compassionately. I hoped we had emerged from the 19th-century disregard for the disabled, and recognised that mobility is a human right for them - as it is for everyone.
"Spokesman Russell Spink said: 'As a taxpayer-funded organisation, we have to strike a balance between building a replacement bridge that meets the needs both of the railway and the community with the limited funds available'." Some of those taxpayers who pay Spink's wages are disabled, and they deserve to be treated compassionately. I hoped we had emerged from the 19th-century disregard for the disabled, and recognised that mobility is a human right for them - as it is for everyone. Oxonian
  • Score: 7

11:15am Wed 30 Jul 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

They are well within their rights to provide a "Like for like" replacement that is their minimum obligation. if the council wants them to provide extra's then perhaps the council should fund it!
They are well within their rights to provide a "Like for like" replacement that is their minimum obligation. if the council wants them to provide extra's then perhaps the council should fund it! yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: 6

12:40pm Wed 30 Jul 14

EMBOX2 says...

Tough one. I agree that it should be accessible however, how many cyclists and disabled users will there be on a daily basis?

As long as bike ramps are included, which they will no doubt be, then bikes can be wheeled up without issue.

For the disabled, a simple, vandal proof hydraulic lift should be added, operated by the NKS key. This would fix the problem without adding a huge amount of extra ramps to either side which are very unsightly and rarely used.
Tough one. I agree that it should be accessible however, how many cyclists and disabled users will there be on a daily basis? As long as bike ramps are included, which they will no doubt be, then bikes can be wheeled up without issue. For the disabled, a simple, vandal proof hydraulic lift should be added, operated by the NKS key. This would fix the problem without adding a huge amount of extra ramps to either side which are very unsightly and rarely used. EMBOX2
  • Score: 1

12:43pm Wed 30 Jul 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Oxonian wrote:
"Spokesman Russell Spink said: 'As a taxpayer-funded organisation, we have to strike a balance between building a replacement bridge that meets the needs both of the railway and the community with the limited funds available'."

Some of those taxpayers who pay Spink's wages are disabled, and they deserve to be treated compassionately. I hoped we had emerged from the 19th-century disregard for the disabled, and recognised that mobility is a human right for them - as it is for everyone.
Oddly enough ever since the protests concerning the magnificent new fully compliant and brightly lit bridge was installed in Bicester - very little has been heard of the "Activists" in Oxford who were demanding a (what would be an identical) ramped bridge.

Perhaps once they saw the benefit, they were less enthusiastic?
[quote][p][bold]Oxonian[/bold] wrote: "Spokesman Russell Spink said: 'As a taxpayer-funded organisation, we have to strike a balance between building a replacement bridge that meets the needs both of the railway and the community with the limited funds available'." Some of those taxpayers who pay Spink's wages are disabled, and they deserve to be treated compassionately. I hoped we had emerged from the 19th-century disregard for the disabled, and recognised that mobility is a human right for them - as it is for everyone.[/p][/quote]Oddly enough ever since the protests concerning the magnificent new fully compliant and brightly lit bridge was installed in Bicester - very little has been heard of the "Activists" in Oxford who were demanding a (what would be an identical) ramped bridge. Perhaps once they saw the benefit, they were less enthusiastic? Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 3

10:48pm Wed 30 Jul 14

mytaxes says...

yabbadabbadoo256 wrote:
They are well within their rights to provide a "Like for like" replacement that is their minimum obligation. if the council wants them to provide extra's then perhaps the council should fund it!
The council does not have any money of their own only taxpayers money.
Mr. Price could of course pay for it from his own bank account.
[quote][p][bold]yabbadabbadoo256[/bold] wrote: They are well within their rights to provide a "Like for like" replacement that is their minimum obligation. if the council wants them to provide extra's then perhaps the council should fund it![/p][/quote]The council does not have any money of their own only taxpayers money. Mr. Price could of course pay for it from his own bank account. mytaxes
  • Score: 0

6:29am Thu 31 Jul 14

King Joke says...

THis I'm afraid is one of the nonsenses to arise from the McNulty review into railway costs, namely that unit costs should fall as passenger numbers rise. THis completely neglects the fact that health, safety, environmental and community considerations like this are only ever going to get more expensive. NR will continue to play hard-ball like this for as long as they're expected to continuously slash costs.
THis I'm afraid is one of the nonsenses to arise from the McNulty review into railway costs, namely that unit costs should fall as passenger numbers rise. THis completely neglects the fact that health, safety, environmental and community considerations like this are only ever going to get more expensive. NR will continue to play hard-ball like this for as long as they're expected to continuously slash costs. King Joke
  • Score: -1

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