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Council Object To Level Crossing Closures

Council officials are calling for a public inquiry into controversial plans to permanently close two Coventry level crossings.

Railtrack wants to bring the gates down forever at Canley and Tile Hill stations as part of a £2 billion modernisation scheme along the West Coast line.

The firm wants to turn the road by Canley station into a cul-de-sac and replace the crossing with a pedestrian and cycle bridge.

At Tile Hill they want to build a road bridge over the track in Cromwell Lane.

Railtrack say the closures are necessary because track improvements mean more trains will run, causing the barriers to come down more often, which would lead to lengthy traffic delays.

It calculates that the Canley gates would be down for an average of 33 minutes per hour during the daytime – a rise of nine minutes.

At Tile Hill station the figure is expected to rise from 31 minutes to 40 minutes an hour.

A survey by Railtrack has conceded that building a bridge in Tile Hill would encourage more traffic to the roads in the area, and the number of vehicles would rise dramatically.

Residents living near the level crossing have formed a Bridge Action group to fight the proposals. They claim that consultation carried out by Railtrack last year was poorly advertised and did not allow them to express their views.

Council officials writing a report for councillors to consider next week say Railtrack has not produced enough measures to reduce the impact on the affected roads.

Strategic Director (City Development) John McGuigan said that existing accident blackspots would see more traffic if the level crossings would close.

In particular, the area dubbed “malfunction junction” around the A45 and Tile Hill Lane, and the roundabout between Sir Henry Parkes Road and the A45 could see new problems.

And traffic unable to head into the city centre from the south of Coventry would be attracted to Kenilworth Road instead.

Mr McGuigan said there were also concerns about Cromwell Lane, Station Avenue and roads in Burton Green.

Public transport body Centro has claimed that the road closure at Canley station would lead to bus routes being severely disrupted. Some routes in the Canley Gardens area would cease to be commercially viable and it would cost up to £50,000 a year to subsidise them.

Urging councillors to authorise officers to protest about the scheme to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Mr McGuigan said:

“Railtrack has failed to produce detailed traffic reports and has not proposed adequate mitigation measures to deal with the impacts and effects of the proposals.”

Objections have to be made to the DETR by 11 April following an application in February by Railtrack for permission for the work to be carried out.
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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 23 Mar 00

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