Underpass scheme will benefit majority

PUBLISHED: 13:38 06 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:06 11 May 2010

I am writing in response to recent dismissive comments about the Royston rail underpass, a project which has the backing of most local people. The new underpass will link both sides of the northern part of the town with the industrial, employment, and lei

I am writing in response to recent dismissive comments about the Royston rail underpass, a project which has the backing of most local people.

The new underpass will link both sides of the northern part of the town with the industrial, employment, and leisure areas, giving pedestrians and cyclists safe and easy access across town. It will also substantially reduce the walking distance to school for many school children - more or less halving it for children from the Burns Road area who attend Greneway School. The exact distance will of course be different for each child, depending on where they live.

At present, the railway line divides the town in half, with no way across on foot, except via a busy road at one end of the town. While the fencing alongside the track has discouraged youngsters from crossing the line at this point, it has in effect shifted the problem further along, towards the Morton Street/Green Street junction. A more comprehensive solution is called for.

We appreciate that some residents have raised concerns about potential problems such as anti-social behaviour, but these issues have been carefully addressed in the consultation, design, and development control process and the subsequent planning conditions. This includes replacing fencing for gardens backing on to the shared cycleway/footway, making the underpass 'see through' and well lit from end to end, and installing CCTV cameras.

The compulsory purchase of the land to the rear of the gardens adjoining Coombes Hole is still going through due legal process so I cannot comment on individual cases. However, land ownership records demonstrate that the rear gardens of Brooke Road did not originally encroach on the track as they do at present, so the question of ownership is still an issue to be formally resolved.

Unfortunately it is virtually impossible to carry out major improvement work without generating opposition of some description. However, our plans have incorporated feedback from public consultation and we believe that they meet the needs of the majority of people.

Cllr Stuart Pile

Executive Member for Highways and Transport

Hertfordshire County Council

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