Planning inspectors face criticism over bridge decision

Proposed Bridge at Lincoln High Street level crossing

Planning inspectors are facing criticism after they ruled a city centre footbridge could be built, despite the City of Lincoln Council refusing permission for the bridge over accessibility concerns.

The Bridge, which was planned to span the city’s Brayford Wharf East level crossing, was turned down because the plans did not include a lift, which is a requirement under the Disability Discrimination Act.

That decision was subsequently overturned by the National Planning Inspector, which has sparked anger from councillors and disability campaigners.

Karen Lee MP

They say they are now lobbying the city’s MP Karen Lee to step in and ask the inspector to “revisit the issue again”.

Disability campaigner, Wes Shelbourne added: “It is concerning me that an organisation such as Network Rail has not felt the need to include access for people with mobility needs in their plans”.

Network Rail, who want to build the bridge, have said that there are alternative routes for the disabled to use, as well as waiting for trains to pass before using the level crossing.

Jim Hanrahan, Planning Committee Chairman, City of Lincoln Council said: “I think it’s very disturbing. It seems very strange that we have one rule which applies to the general public and one rule which applies to Network Rail. I think there’s quite a lot of confusion in the inspector’s mind”.