Campaigners angry as Long Rock crossing to stay closed
CAMPAIGNERS from Long Rock were left frustrated and disappointed after Cornwall Council voted to keep the pedestrian railway crossing in the village closed.
A Cabinet meeting to discuss the order of closure for the Mexico pedestrian crossing, which was submitted by Network Rail in March, saw councillors vote six to three in favour of the crossing remaining closed.
The order has now been sent to the Secretary of State for confirmation.
During the meeting at County Hall, for which the council had received an "unprecedented" number of questions from the public in advance, opinion was divided.
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Roy Mann, councillor for Ludgvan, made a passionate plea asking the council to support some 98 per cent of Long Rock residents in their campaign to see the crossing reopened.
He said: "The Long Rock community has come together on this and the Friends [campaign group] have worked extremely hard. I admire their dedication. There is overwhelming local support, if this is to be referred to the Secretary of State the battle will carry on."
Geoff Brown, portfolio holder for homes and communities, also spoke against the closure order, saying the crossing should be reopened.
He said: "We shouldn't be seeking to impose on people what is a personal responsibility. I can see no justification for stopping people using it.
"By closing it we may increase the risk of accidents."
Bert Biscoe, portfolio holder for transport and waste, was also in favour of seeing the crossing reopened.
Other councillors raised concerns about the need for safety improvements at the crossing, which was closed in December 2012 following advice from Cornwall's deputy coroner at the inquest into the death of 73-year-old Jeanette Nicholls, who was struck by a train at the public thoroughfare.
Council leader John Pollard said: "I think it's very dangerous for any council to go against professional advice. It's very dangerous at this point to say 'let's open it'."
When the result was delivered there were cries of outrage from the gallery where around 50 campaigners from Long Rock had gathered.
One campaigner Colin Foxon said: "We are disappointed in the decision. I feel they are just passing the buck."
Rob Nance, chairman of Friends of Long Rock Mexico Crossing, added: "I thought the facts were there and we had them. This is not over."
Throughout the consultation, there were 159 representations predominately favouring reopening. The order has been sent to the Secretary of State and a public inquiry is likely to follow.