The family of a Kirkby man who was killed on a level crossing are gathering public support for a new bridge after Network Rail agreed to fund its construction.
Relatives of 34-year-old Phil Dawn have been campaigning for a bridge to be built over the level crossing near King’s Mill Reservoir to make it safer ever since the cyclist’s tragic death in May 2012.
Network Rail had failed to act on the findings of two risk assessments carried out at the well-used crossing before Phil’s death, and acknowledged that it needed replacing with a bridge.
The company announced last month that funding to build a bridge had been allocated and the Dawn family have since been asking the views of people who use the crossing and live nearby.
Said Phil’s sister, Tracy Hart, of Park Avenue, Annesley Woodhouse: “We do not take our campaign lightly and wanted to get the views of local residents and people who use the crossing.”
Tracy, her husband, her father and Nottinghamshire County councillor for Mansfield West, Coun Darren Langton, knocked on residents’ doors, and spoke to around 50 people about what they thought of the crossing and the plans to replace it with a bridge.
“Eighty-five per cent of those questioned were in favour of the crossing being closed and a bridge being built,” said Tracy.
“They stated that they were pleased that Network Rail were working hard to get a bridge in place and now have the funding for this to happen.
“They were particularly pleased that the bridge will remain a bridleway crossing, thereby maintaining accessibility to all.
“Many parents of younger children expressed their relief that the bridge will provide a safer environment for their children and this was echoed by others who stated that the bridge was long overdue.”
Coun Langton said that as the local county councillor he was helping the family to find out what people living nearby felt about the plans in advance of any formal consultation that will be held at a later date.
He said that most residents with elderly relatives or young children were in favour of the bridge but some people did have reservations.
“I am supporting the family and the local community in this process, engaging the opinion of local residents as to how strong their feelings are about this,” he said.
“A lot of people have said they would like to see improvements and this is one idea.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said: “We are very grateful for Mrs Hart’s support for our plans. We are drawing up designs which, once complete, will be used for a planning application.
“We are progressing this work as quickly as possible and will issue further communications once an application is submitted in order to allow people to put their views to the local authority in line with planning procedures.”
A petition set up by Phil Dawn’s family calling for a bridge at the crossing can still be signed at change.org by searching for ‘kings mill crossing’. Including paper versions, they have so far collected more than 2,300 signatures.
Tracy added: “We hope that they will continue to support this campaign to ensure that Kings Mill crossing is a safe crossing for all.”