Parish councillors object to plan to cut off countryside access for wheelchair users

Carole Green and Lars Kramm at the level crossing
Lars Kramm and Carole Greene at the current level crossing on the footpath between Copmanthorpe and Bishopthorpe

York Green Party has joined forces with Parish Councillors Carole Green from Bishopthorpe and Lars Kramm from Copmanthorpe to formally object to Network Rail’s proposed Copmanthorpe No. 2 Level Crossing (Land Acquisition and Closure) Order. They believe that the proposed stepped footbridge replacement for the existing level crossing will negatively impact the quality of life for local residents with mobility issues, pregnant women, elderly individuals, and small children, who will not be able to use the bridge.

Green Party Chair Tom Franklin, speaking on behalf of York Green Party, said: “We stand with Carole and Lars in objecting to the Network Rail proposal, which not only discriminates against residents with mobility limitations but also undermines our commitment to promoting active travel and sustainable transport options.”

Councillor Carole Green from Bishopthorpe commented: “Network Rail’s flawed Diversity Impact Assessment and the exclusion of key stakeholders, like the York Disability Forum, clearly demonstrate that they haven’t considered the needs of our diverse community. We need a bridge that serves everyone, regardless of their physical abilities.”

Councillor Lars Kramm from Copmanthorpe highlighted the importance of maintaining accessibility: “The proposed order may not comply with crucial regulations and guidelines concerning equality, active travel provisions, and climate change considerations. It’s crucial to explore alternatives such as a ramped bridge to ensure equal access for all our residents, both now and for future generations”

York Green Party, Councillor Carole Green, and Councillor Lars Kramm are urging the Secretary of State for Transport to reconsider the proposal and implement a more inclusive solution, such as a ramped bridge, to serve the needs of everyone in the communities on both sides of the railway.

Residents and stakeholders are encouraged to submit their objections or representations by post or email to the Secretary of State on or before 2 May 2023.

Background:

The Copmanthorpe No. 2 Level Crossing has been a vital connection between the villages of Copmanthorpe and Bishopthorpe for many years, forming part of the long-distance walking trail “Ebor Way” from Ilkley to Helmsley. The closure of the current level crossing is required as part of the East Coast Mainline upgrade, which aims to improve connectivity, speed and efficiency. However, Network Rail’s proposal to close the level crossing and replace it with a stepped footbridge has raised concerns among local residents and politicians alike. The proposed design would create significant barriers for individuals with mobility limitations, impacting their quality of life and access to essential services. On 16 March 2023, Network Rail submitted its Transport & Works Act Order (TWAO) application to the Secretary of State for Transport for the Copmanthorpe Level Crossing Closure scheme, following decisions of City of York Council to oppose its proposal on accessibility grounds.

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