POLL: Paramedic gives his view on Long Rock crossing debate
A PARAMEDIC claims the closure of a railway crossing in Long Rock will hamper the ambulance service when responding to incidents on the beach.
Chris Taylor, who is based in Penzance, said that with the Mexico foot crossing closed paramedics would have to use the level crossing several hundred metres away to respond to incidents.
The crossing was shut in December after Cornwall Council enforced an emergency closure request from Network Rail.
A coroner had recommended the crossing should be closed following an inquest in to the death of grandmother Jeanette Nicholls, who was hit by a train on it in October 2011.
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The council is reviewing evidence before it decides on whether to close the crossing permanently but the decision has been strongly opposed by residents.
Mr Taylor said: "I know from personal experience that many families use this crossing to access the beach. I certainly feel that access by the ambulance service to these families would be hampered if the crossing were closed and we had to use the level crossing several hundred metres away.
"I know from experience that an ambulance can back down the lane leading to the small crossing and it is, in my view, a really effective place to access the beach."
More than 200 people attended a public meeting in Long Rock in January where they unanimously agreed to keep the crossing open.
Robert Nance, a committee member of the Friends of Long Rock Mexico Crossing, said: "If people cross at the level crossing they are still going to come back and sit on the beach in the area of the foot crossing.
"I spoke to a former railway man who said that once the crossing is down it is very difficult to get it back up."
Mrs Nicholls's family have echoed Network Rail in calling for a permanent closure of the crossing. The 73-year-old's death followed five near misses and two other incidents on the line since 2007.