Meeting called over the future of railway crossing
RESIDENTS in Long Rock are holding a public meeting to challenge the emergency closure of a rail crossing which some feel is placing a stranglehold on village life.
The villagers are opposed to the closure of the Mexico footcrossing in the village, which was shut last month following an inquest in to the death of Jeanette Nicholls.
The 73-year-old grandmother, who was a resident in the village and regular user of the crossing, was struck by a train on it and killed in October 2011.
Following the inquest last month, in which the coroner recommended the crossing should be closed, Cornwall Council enforced an emergency closure request from Network Rail.
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The decision means the crossing, which is situated 200m from a level crossing, will remain closed until another one is made on how to improve its safety or to close it.
Closure of the crossing, which was also recommended by the coroner at the inquest, has been long sought after by Mrs Nicholls' family.
However, it has been met with fierce opposition by locals, who have collected more than 400 signatures on a petition to keep it open and are holding a public meeting on Thursday.
Robert Nance, resident and committee member of newly formed group Friends of Long Rock Mexico Crossing (FOLRMC), said the meeting had been called due to the overwhelming opposition among residents.
He said: "Convenience is a reason cited by a lot of people who have signed the petition.
"They don't consider it to be dangerous.
"Parents who walk children to Marazion School in the summer say they would have to go back to the level crossing or walk by road.
"The shop has only just opened again; they rely heavily on trade coming through that crossing and the pub gets business from people staying there so they can be close to the beach.
"Every person apart from half a dozen or so went to sign it immediately."
Mrs Nicholls' death followed five near-misses, and two other incidents have occurred on the crossing since 2007.
A detailed investigation in to its safety was carried out by the Rail Accident Investigation Board following the accident.
The petition is the second associated with the crossing after one was started last year by Mrs Nicholls' granddaughter Jodie Farmer to close it.
A statement from Mrs Nicholls' family said: "We understand the petitioners may wish to keep the footpath crossing open for reasons of convenience but perhaps they are not fully aware of the dangers this footpath crossing presents.
"The crossing has been the subject of a detailed and independent investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Board and its findings are very clear.
"The coroner conducted a full and detailed inquest into Mrs Nicholls' death and stated that the crossing is dangerous, that it could lead to other fatalities and that it should be closed.
"The family has suffered a huge loss as a result of the untimely death of Mrs Nicholls and would not wish the same fate to befall another family on the very same crossing where there are known safety issues."
The meeting is due to take place at the Long Rock Memorial Institute at 7pm tonight.