Objector: Paul Sladen
c/o 25 Linden Grove
Telephone: 0115 922 7162
FAO: John Lee
Senior Rights of Way Officer
Nottingham City Council
Telephone: 0115 9156 078
Objection Footpath No.28 (ref: SUO 5015)
Objection to the Stopping Up of Footpath No.28 at the site of
Nottingham Midland railway station formed by Footbridge No.20B and connecting
paths over Network Rail lands between Station Street (north) and Queen's
I support the Station Masterplan develoment and NET Phase Two extension
works, I object to the permanent stopping of up Footpath No.28 as
proposed in the Order:
The Order should be denied in its present form:
- material inconvenience and (mild) increase of danger to pedestrians and (pushing) cyclists
- the alternative route offered is of greater distance
- the alternative route is over 450 metres longer compared to original pre-1990 Footpath No.28
- the alternative route offered is step-free, but not flat, as suggested in the supporting materials
- the alternative route offered crosses three near-blind road enterances/exits
- the alternative route is exposed to the elements for its entire length
- effective conversion of statutory right-of-way to permissive right-of-way afforded by NET Phase 2 bridge construction
- back-door loss of guaranteed statuary right-of-way
- the development plans include supporting pillars for the Tram Bridge (and Footpath No.28's effective replacement). The integral relationship between the works should ensure that Footpath No.28 still exists at the completion of the works.
- disruption of continuous north-south (relatively) traffic-free pedestrian route comprising of other Footpaths/Highways in the area:
- Garner's Hill–Unnumbered footpath parrallel to Middle Hill–Trent Street–Footpath No.28–Station Car Park/Queen's Road–Summer Leys Lane
- Station Street Tram stop–connecting bridge (Greater Nottingham Light Rapid Transit Act 1994, Work-1A)–Footpath No.28–Queen's Road
- New Pedestrian Canal Bridge–Canal Towpath–Trent Street–Footpath No.28
- removal of sole pedestrian-only (non-vehicle) highway crossing of the Midland Main Line railway for 1,500 metres (eastwards) and 5,300 metres (westwards)
- current Footbridge No.20B route is itself a diversion explicitly requested by the Applicant's predecessor British Railways Board, granted in 1989-1990
- in-line with the Secretary of State for Transport's 13 April 2010 decision to prevent a similar blockage occuring of the footbridge route over Sheffield Midland station (without a replacement being built first)
- failure to recognise original Footbridge No.21 reason d'etere for equally bisecting station perimeter
- the official reasoning of being "necessary for development" used in the Order (as presented) directly conflicts with subsequent public statements made by relevant parties with interest
- access is being maintained for rail passengers via Multi-Storey Car Park (MSCP), while not preferable, at a minimum this right should be afforded to existing users of the right-of-way
The Order should be remade:
- as a standard temporary footpath diversion (Tempoary Prohibition Order) for the true period of any such redevelopment works, and for that period only
- the allowed prohibition duration should run concurent with that afforded by the NET Phase Two Transport & Works Act Order timeline boundaries (5 years for start of construction)
After which the Applicant should be encouraged to have applied for a permanent footpath Diversion Order, by way of:
- the current Footbridge No.20B for the majority of its length
- the future Tram NET Phase 2 bridge for the majority of its length (currently planned as a permissive right-of-way)
- any/or more suitable grade-separated route of superior quality and closer in function to that of the original Footpath No.28 (such a route would likely need to to be to the East of the currently Footpath No.28)
I can confirm that the right-of-way is used as such. I recently used
the entirety of Footpath No.28 as a pedestrian to travel between
Nottingham City Centre and Anchor Supplies using the backstreet route
Trent Street–Footpath No.28–Queen's Road–Summer Leys Lane–Crocus
The day in question was extremely wet with heavy downpour and large
amounts of spray being thrown up by motor vehicles on the main roads.
I was able to pause and shelter in the southern end of the covered
bridge section for a short period while the heavy rain subsided; and
avoid the majority of spray from puddles by using the near-contigious
traffic-free afforded by Footpath No.2 and its connections.
Supporting historic considerations:
Whilst the grounds of objection afforded in this instance are narrowed
by the circumstances of the requesting of the Order, I hope that any
review can take account of the wider context of the routeing of the
footpath as it stands today:
- Nottingham Midland station covers an area of over 17 hectares, and has an accessible perimeter circumference of approximately 1,140 metres.
- A pedestrian needing to travel from a particular point on the perimeter to an opposite particular point would reasonably expect not to travel further than approximately 570 metres (5.5 minutes walking time at 100 metres/minute), taking whichever perimeter route is shortest.
- New rights-of-way presenting an impedient to existing travel have generally been required to provide accomodation access at reasonable intervals such that existing travellers are not unduely inconvenienced. This accomodation access is either grade-separated (bridges, subways), or on a level. Historically this requirement has been applied to Canal Works, Railway Works, Motorways and Highways, and other similar General Works likely to be an impediment to travel.
- The Midland Railway constructed accomodation Footbridge No.21, ensuring that existing travellers would not be unduely inconvenienced.
- The original Footbridge No.21 (length 160 metres) approximately bisected the enclosed Midland Station area.
- By bisecting the station area, Footbridge No.21 reduced the worst-case distance of travel for pedestrians by between 0 metres and 410 metres, (ie. compared to wholly transversing one half of the perimetre, measuring approximately 570-metres).
- The Right-of-Way offered over Footbridge No.21 was chosen and established with good reason, it was centrally offered perimeter bisections of: approximately 515 metres (via East perimeter portion) and 625 metres (via West perimeter portion).
- Requests to Stop Up Footbridge No.21 and its Right-of-Way (Footpath No.28) without a replacement were denied with good reason.
- British Railway Board (BRB) offered a replacement with inferiour perimeter bisecting capability: 377 metres (via East perimetre portion) 763 metres (via West portion).
- BRB's offer was viewed as preferable to complete closure and economic costs of replacement of Footbridge 21.
- BRB's offer would likely have been declined had any hint been made that BRB or its sucessors-in-interest would later seek to renegate upon its duties though seeking ultimate closure.
- Section 1.5 claims "The alternative route, ... is relatively flat". Whilst step-free the route is by no means flat, being routed via a vehicle highway with greater height than Footbridge No.21B.
- Travelling to-or-from the present Station Street tram stop is presently a continious one-way gradient involving two flights of steps; the main ones to the south of the railway staton, and shallow steps between the Footpath No.28 and the tram stop.
- Section 3 (Other Options Considered) fails to note any investigation of a tempoary prohibition order which would development to take place safely, without Network Rail being "liable to enforcement action being taken against it for unlawful obstruction" for the duration of construction works.
- Section 5.1 claims that the "the continued existence of the footpath is incompatible with the proposed development", however this directly contradicts with East Midlands Trains assertion on 12 March 2010 that "If the closure of the right of way goes ahead ... rail users will still be able to use the bridge.".
Footnotes and references
- Unnumbered, not yet on definitive map. Runs from base of Garner's
Hill Steps/Cliff Road southwards to junction of Canal Street/Middle
Hill/Trent Street pedestrian access providing foot access to Broadmarsh
Centre Ground-level and bus station at its mid-section.
- Unnumbered, confirmed as being due to be ungated and added to
definitive map and positioned over Beeston and Nottingham Canal
halfway between Canal bridges (No.4,5 and 6 "Trent Street") and London
- Greater Nottingham Light Rapid Transit Act 1994 (c. 15)
"Work No. 1A—A footbridge over Station Street between a point on the
existing footbridge over Nottingham Midland Station 15 metres
south-west of the junction of Station Street with Trent Street and a
point on the said existing viaduct of the former Great Central Railway
23 metres north-west of the said road junction."
- A picture of the original Bridge No.21 previously carrying Footpath No.28: http://www.flickr.com/photos/loose_grip_99/350613441
- "Minister solves row over train station footbridge barriers", Sheffield Telegraph (13 April 2010). http://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/news2/Minister-solves-row-over-train.6221614.jp
- "Sheffield station ticket barrier plans put on hold", BBC News Online (13 April 2010). http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/england/8617002.stm
- "Station footbridge to stay open for rail passengers if right of way closure passed", Nottingaham Evening Post (12 March 2010). http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/news/Station-footbridge-stay-open-rail-passengers-right-way-closure-passed/article-1909320-detail/article.html