Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: The Hope Room, Otford Village Memorial Hall, 8 High Street, Otford TN14 5PQ

Contact: Andrew Tait  03000 416749

Items
No. Item

1.

Application to divert Public Footpath SR49 from the at grade Foot Crossing to a stepped bridge at Otford. pdf icon PDF 349 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(1)       The Panel Members visited the site of the application prior to the meeting.  They inspected the crossing point and observed the visibility lines along the railway from both sides of the track.  The location of the proposed step bridge was also pointed out to them.   Members then walked the route through the station car park that was intended to replace the existing footpath.  The visit was attended by Nicola Mee and Gemma Kent from Network Rail, Philip Clucas and John Edwards-Winser (Otford PC) and Barry Davies.

 

(2)       The Definition Officer introduced the application by saying that it had been made by Network Rail in the interests of safety to remove the at grade foot crossing from the railway line and to run the path over a stepped bridge, which had already been granted planning permission.

 

(3)       The Definition Officer then set out her findings in respect of the criteria for proposed diversions given in Section 119A of the Highways Act 1980.  The first of these was whether it was expedient in the interests of the safety of users or likely users of the crossing.   She said that a number of risk assessments had been undertaken by Network Rail, the most recent in October 2015.   This latest risk assessment had increased the risk score from a rating of C3 (high risk) to C2 (higher risk) due to usage figures and an increase in numbers of vulnerable users.  This was despite the temporary speed restriction in force limiting trains to 45 mph rather than the usual 60 mph. This temporary restriction had been imposed due to the insufficient sighting available at the level crossing. Whistle boards had previously been installed in order to mitigate the insufficient sighting at the crossing. These had been removed following a Noise Abatement Notice.

 

(4) 

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     The Definition Officer said that this particularcrossing wasranked byNetwork Railas 29thof 561 level crossings onthe SouthEast Route in termsof danger. In respect ofcrossings which cateredfor publicfootpaths, it ranked1st  of278, puttingit within thetop 1%in thecountry basedon NetworkRail's assessment of risk.Network Rail’s main concernsat this crossingwere insufficient sighting, the high levelof use,and evidence of misuse coupledwith thehigh levelof vulnerableusers, particularly unaccompaniedchildren andthe elderly.Network Railhad providedan incident log, but these incidents were not weighted.  NetworkRail considered that its proposed solutionof afootbridge withsteps wouldremove therisk ofserious injury to usersand allowuninterrupted use.

 

(5)       The Definition Officer then said that Network Railhad calculatedthat 13.5seconds wererequired forvulnerable usersto cross alevel crossing.  The traversetime wascalculated basedon thelength ofthe crossing between decision points.For thiscrossing, thishad been calculatedby estimating thatan average person would take 9seconds tocross.Dueto thenumber of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1.