Photo Credit : The Bucks Herald, 5th June 2015
Please sign the petition, and work with us to provide a crossing for Southcourt.
The history and reasons behind this petition
The closure of the level crossing between Old Stoke Road and Mandaville Road has caused huge inconvenience and frustration for the residents of Southcourt, and the only councillor to have challenged this closure is the Southcourt AVDC and Town Councillor, Labour's Mark Bateman.
Mark now needs your help to force the Buckinghamshire County Council, Aylesbury Vale Districy Council and Aylesbury Town Council to actively work with Network Rail live up to their collective responsibilities to the Southcourt community, and provide a safe and secure crossing for Southcourt in the form of a footbridge.
The Aylesbury Labour Party, Councillor Mark Bateman, backed by prospective AVDC Councillor Ansar Gulzar and prospective Aylesbury Town Councillor Carmel Traynor, are taking this fight to the complacent Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors, at all levels, to tell them to put people ahead of profit, and communities ahead of corporations.
The dangerous crossing is not a new story. In 2013 The Bucks Herald called this crossing a "Death Trap" and at the time a Network Rail spokesman said that they were looking into the feasibility of installing a footbridge, because "British Rail said at the time it could not close the crossing as it is a public right of way."
In December 2015 Mix96 reported that "Network Rail have confirmed they're still planning on installing a footbridge at the Old Stoke Road Level Crossing on the Mandeville Road", but again Network Rail failed to live up to their responsibilities or honour their promises.
Then in December 2016 a cyclist was tragically killed at this crossing, and it was somewhat understandable that in January 2017 this crossing was closed for safety reasons.
However, given the history of promises of providing a footbridge, and the importance of this crossing for the residents of Southcourt, it came as something of a shock when it was reported that Network Rail has worked with Buckinghamshire County Council to close the Old Stoke Road level crossings, and that "After getting the required permissions from Buckinghamshire County Council, Old Stoke Road has been permanently closed".
This unacceptable and unbelievable state of affairs. Why on earth did the predominantly Conservative and Liberal Democrat Buckinghamshire County Council permit Network Rail to close this right of way without any consultation with the residents of Southcourt. The solution is simple, Network Rail have a duty to keep the right of way open and install a footbridge, but Buckinghamshire County Council have put the financial wishes of Network Rail ahead of the well being and interests of the Southcourt community.
The 'alternative' pedestrian routes can add up to a mile for a journey to and from the Harvey Road shops, which for elderly residents, those with mobility issues or mothers with prams can mean that well over 30 minutes is added to the total journey. Network Rail and this government are prepared to spend over £35 Billion pounds to shave 30 minutes off of a journey to Birmingham, then they should therefore be prepared to spend a comparatively insignificant amount on a footbridge at the Old Stoke Road crossing.
The Aylesbury Labour Party, Mark Bateman, Ansar Gulzar and Carmel Traynor have written to the following people and organisations asking for their support in putting pressure on all responsible parties to work together to provide a resolution to this issue:
- Andy McDonald, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport.
- Aylesbury Ramblers Association
- Campaign for Open Spaces (OSS)
- Chairman of Network Rail
- Chairman Buckinghamshire Country Council
- Chairman Aylesbury Vale District Council
- Chairman Ayesbury Town Council
- The Bucks Herald
- Bucks Advertiser
- Mix 96
- 3 Counties Radio