The issue was whether the proposal represented a suitable design regarding the provision of safe and convenient access for all users. The inspector accepted the need for a footbridge existed as the level crossing was very heavily used, being located near to the city centre and other busy areas and destinations such as the university. Planning permission existed for a similarly designed scheme including lifts which had now been amended to exclude the lifts due to viability constraints.
The council’s local plan policy required all developments to have regard to creating safe and convenient access for all. The inspector felt this policy was complied with in the proposal as it would significantly reduce congestion at the level crossing improving the safety of users, including pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles and those with mobility difficulties or with push chairs. Whilst he felt the omission of the lifts in the proposed scheme was regrettable, he found there were significant benefits to all users associated with the current proposal and other suitable alternative means of crossing the railway line existed, including the remaining level crossing and another bridge with lifts nearby in the city centre.
Inspector: Alastair Phillips; Written representations