HS2

06.08.18

Network Rail electrification plans stalled after council rejects bridge removal bid

Campaigners are celebrating after plans from Network Rail to demolish a bridge as part of its electrification scheme were rejected by a local council.

The Vale of the White Horse council in Oxfordshire made the landmark decision last week against judgements of planning officers for the authority.

Network Rail said that the removal of the bridge was necessary for its electrification of the line— yet campaigners have argued that it would have a detrimental impact on the surrounding economy and would have caused a 10-month road closure which cuts off a major route into the village.

Vale of White Horse District Council’s planning committee rejected NR’s application at its meeting on Thursday night, claiming that the benefit for the wider area had not been demonstrated.

Conservative councillor for Steventon & the Hanneys, Matthew Barber, said “common sense prevailed.”

A spokesperson for Vale of White Horse District Council commented: “At last night’s meeting Planning Committee heard from a number of interested parties, including Steventon Parish Council and Network Rail. Following consideration of all the information presented committee determined that there is no convincing justification for demolishing the bridge. 

“Steventon Overbridge is a Grade 2 listed structure and removing it would be harmful to the local area and contrary to a number of local and national planning policies.” 

A spokesperson for Network Rail said: “We are disappointed that the Vale of White Horse District Council rejected the planning application for the demolition and replacement of the railway bridge at Steventon. We are currently considering our options, and looking to submit an appeal.”

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Image credit: Geography

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