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Future of Whitstable's Glebe Way railway crossing set to be decided by a public inquiry

The future of a railway crossing in Whitstable is set to be decided by a public inquiry after hundreds of residents contacted the council to have their say on its proposed closure.

In October, Kent County Council’s regulation committee decided to shut the Glebe Way public right of way - the scene of 33 incidents in the space of 18 years - following a request from Network Rail.

But now, the fate of the foot crossing once again hangs in the balance after KCC received a huge number of comments both for and against the ruling, which has been met with mixed feelings from the community

The Glebe Way railway crossing
The Glebe Way railway crossing

Many were relieved - claiming the “high risk” crossing in Clifton Road poses a danger to pedestrians, particularly children who are given freedom to roam the town.

One commenter, John Hills, said: “This crossing scares me to death and I never use it.

“I like to approach questions like this from another direction - if the crossing wasn’t there and someone suggested building it, what would the reaction be? I suspect it would be along the lines of ‘are you crazy?’”

But others are outraged at KCC’s decision to close the crossing - which would force hundreds of pedestrians who use it each day to use a route 200 metres along the line. Many have suggested a gate system with lights should be installed, or the path could be diverted over a bridge.

The Glebe Way railway crossing
The Glebe Way railway crossing

Eleanor Preston said: “I strongly object to this closure. The crossing is not currently unsafe if used with care. It could be made more safe with some basic modernising improvements such as lights and the sort of electronic gates seen at other crossings up and down the country.”

Following its decision, KCC said members of the public were welcome to object to the order. Now this has happened, the matter is likely to be taken up by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

A KCC spokesman said: “We have received hundreds of representations to the Public Path Order, both for and against.

“We will now consider the representations and feel it is highly likely that the order will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State, for determination. Given the level of representation, we anticipate that the Planning Inspectorate will wish to proceed by way of a public inquiry.”

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