‘Monster’ bridge in need of a cover-up

Bicester Advertiser: Andrea Leonard alongside the bridge she has branded a ‘monster’ Andrea Leonard alongside the bridge she has branded a ‘monster’

A “MONSTER” £250,000 rail bridge was installed at the “insistence” of a council, it has been claimed.

The bridge was moved into place earlier this month to replace Tubbs Crossing between Langford Village and Launton Road.

It has since been strongly criticised by Childfirst nursery in Launton Road, Bicester, as it overlooks its buildings.

Staff say the nursery is overlooked, the bridge dominates the skyline and they fear for children’s safety. Manager Andrea Leonard branded it a “monster.”

Network Rail’s senior programme manager for East West Rail, Francis McGarry, told Bicester Town Council it was “disappointed” with the bridge but ultimately Oxfordshire County Council “signed off” on it.

Mr McGarry said it was in discussions with the nursery to try to reduce the impact.

Options included a £60,000 canopy or screening the bridge, which could cost £200,000.

The meeting was told the nursery’s favoured option was to build an extension on the other side of the building and change the overlooked area into a car park.

Mr McGarry said that could cost between £500,000 and £1m. The nursery told him it had a quote from a local builder, setting out a cost of £180,000 for the work.

Mr McGarry said: “The bridge is significant because of a design forced upon us. We would never build a bridge that size and nature in that location.

“Oxfordshire County Council ultimately signed off on the bridge. Now we have the same local authority coming back saying will you spend some money to make it pretty.”

At a meeting on Tuesday, town and district councillor Debbie Pickford said: “I am absolutely infuriated now over Oxfordshire County Council.

“It’s not just the nursery moaning, it’s half of Bicester moaning about it. I suggest we invite Rodney Rose and his merry men to this council.”

Miss Pickford said neither as a town or district councillor had she been shown any images of what the bridge would look like.

After the meeting, county councillor Laurie Stratford said he and the other Bicester county councillors would press to be more involvement in decision- making for Bicester.

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Owen Morton said: “As Highways Authority, the County Council worked with Network Rail on design details to ensure the bridge complied with national highway standards – including provision for disabled access. The council’s remit did not include the general layout or siting of the bridge.”

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Comments (19)

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4:22pm Thu 29 May 14

mytaxes says...

What planet do these people live on? Get used to it and stop trying to waste more money.
What planet do these people live on? Get used to it and stop trying to waste more money. mytaxes
  • Score: -3

4:22pm Thu 29 May 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

Once again the Tory County Council refusing to accept any blame for their **** ups and blaming others. However it is not unexpected given their track record. They always think they know best and DO NOT listen to local opinion.
Once again the Tory County Council refusing to accept any blame for their **** ups and blaming others. However it is not unexpected given their track record. They always think they know best and DO NOT listen to local opinion. HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: -3

6:30pm Thu 29 May 14

Madi50n says...

If I turned up to view this place for my child and saw that, I'd walk away immediately. Pity the poor parents whose kids go there.
If I turned up to view this place for my child and saw that, I'd walk away immediately. Pity the poor parents whose kids go there. Madi50n
  • Score: 4

6:32pm Thu 29 May 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Oddly enough, there haven't been articles about the people of Hinksey demanding ramped bridges since the first article about the Bicester Bridge was published in early May.

I wonder if they are still as keen?
Oddly enough, there haven't been articles about the people of Hinksey demanding ramped bridges since the first article about the Bicester Bridge was published in early May. I wonder if they are still as keen? Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 10

7:11pm Thu 29 May 14

tired99 says...

Are people forgetting that all but 2 Bicester Town Councillors are Tories and one of those 2 is also a member of the Tory/Independent Group on OCC. All the Tories are also CDC and/or OCC Councillors. It's about time the Tories did their job and read planning applications properly. This paper is full of the Tories or Les Sibley complaining about things that they should have known about years ago.

It's also a bit of a joke that Tony Baldry has written to the Secretary of State about this bridge when the Tories made the decision to have it.

As far as Child First is concerned they have a separate play area on the other side of the building already, which is away from the bridge. No doubt it has just dawned on them that they are right on top of the new train line and are trying to get some compensation.
Are people forgetting that all but 2 Bicester Town Councillors are Tories and one of those 2 is also a member of the Tory/Independent Group on OCC. All the Tories are also CDC and/or OCC Councillors. It's about time the Tories did their job and read planning applications properly. This paper is full of the Tories or Les Sibley complaining about things that they should have known about years ago. It's also a bit of a joke that Tony Baldry has written to the Secretary of State about this bridge when the Tories made the decision to have it. As far as Child First is concerned they have a separate play area on the other side of the building already, which is away from the bridge. No doubt it has just dawned on them that they are right on top of the new train line and are trying to get some compensation. tired99
  • Score: 1

7:13pm Thu 29 May 14

daveh55 says...

Designed and implemented by people who work for YOU and Guess what? They used YOUR money!!! You really couldn't make it up!
Designed and implemented by people who work for YOU and Guess what? They used YOUR money!!! You really couldn't make it up! daveh55
  • Score: -2

8:13pm Thu 29 May 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

This is the 2nd article about this bridge........
This is the 2nd article about this bridge........ Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 0

9:29pm Thu 29 May 14

badger77 says...

Did nobody consider an underpass?
Did nobody consider an underpass? badger77
  • Score: 2

9:58pm Thu 29 May 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

badger77 wrote:
Did nobody consider an underpass?
Then there would be "fears" about the "risk" of "vulnerable" parents being attacked on their way to the nursery.

Users do tend to be happier crossing a bridge than going underground - unless that route is shared with a main road..

Don't forget that the vast majority of users will briskly make their way up and down the stairs rather than trudge up the ramps. Show-off cyclists will also pick up the bike and jog up the stairs.

So discounting parents with buggies, essentially the greatest fear is focussed purely on people with impairments that limit their mobility to ramped access.

I'm a bit uncomfortable with that...
[quote][p][bold]badger77[/bold] wrote: Did nobody consider an underpass?[/p][/quote]Then there would be "fears" about the "risk" of "vulnerable" parents being attacked on their way to the nursery. Users do tend to be happier crossing a bridge than going underground - unless that route is shared with a main road.. Don't forget that the vast majority of users will briskly make their way up and down the stairs rather than trudge up the ramps. Show-off cyclists will also pick up the bike and jog up the stairs. So discounting parents with buggies, essentially the greatest fear is focussed purely on people with impairments that limit their mobility to ramped access. I'm a bit uncomfortable with that... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 7

10:03pm Thu 29 May 14

deedee444 says...

"they fear for childrens safety" ??? what???? is the bridge gonna collapse or summat??
"they fear for childrens safety" ??? what???? is the bridge gonna collapse or summat?? deedee444
  • Score: 2

11:46pm Thu 29 May 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

deedee444 wrote:
"they fear for childrens safety" ??? what???? is the bridge gonna collapse or summat??
I'm thinking they're more worried about sniper attacks
[quote][p][bold]deedee444[/bold] wrote: "they fear for childrens safety" ??? what???? is the bridge gonna collapse or summat??[/p][/quote]I'm thinking they're more worried about sniper attacks Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 2

5:16am Fri 30 May 14

Myron Blatz says...

Having just re-read the article, surely this would seem to be a gross error on the part of the local planning authority? As with bankers, the Police and MPs, there seems to be no effective body of accountability, and where this is in-place it would appear to be inhibited by slow and cumbersome procedure. Maybe what is required is a massive shake-up of planning, and a much greater public accountability for those employed in planning - together with greater accountability of local councillors and MPs who are supposed to be there for the benefit of the electorate, and not just for a few months before MP and local coumcillor elections, when they promise 'the earth' to try and win votes .......
Having just re-read the article, surely this would seem to be a gross error on the part of the local planning authority? As with bankers, the Police and MPs, there seems to be no effective body of accountability, and where this is in-place it would appear to be inhibited by slow and cumbersome procedure. Maybe what is required is a massive shake-up of planning, and a much greater public accountability for those employed in planning - together with greater accountability of local councillors and MPs who are supposed to be there for the benefit of the electorate, and not just for a few months before MP and local coumcillor elections, when they promise 'the earth' to try and win votes ....... Myron Blatz
  • Score: 2

8:16am Fri 30 May 14

wales01man says...

If its viewed as an eyesore now if its covered in corrugated sheets so no one can see out not only will it look worse but it will turn into a hideaway for all the dregs of society.
Now is that much better for the nursery that on the face of it is after some compo?
Or we could remove it stop the rail upgrade and keep a couple of people happy .The bridge is there out of necessity you cant put a Zebra crossing on a 100mph railway line nowadays.
If its viewed as an eyesore now if its covered in corrugated sheets so no one can see out not only will it look worse but it will turn into a hideaway for all the dregs of society. Now is that much better for the nursery that on the face of it is after some compo? Or we could remove it stop the rail upgrade and keep a couple of people happy .The bridge is there out of necessity you cant put a Zebra crossing on a 100mph railway line nowadays. wales01man
  • Score: 4

3:25pm Fri 30 May 14

King Joke says...

What a bunch of whingers - would they rather their children saw a big metal bridge, or witnessed someone being mashed by a 100 mph train?

THe bridge is there for a reason.

Do they honestly think that all of Bicester's kiddy-fiddlers will congregate on the bridge in their big raincoats?
What a bunch of whingers - would they rather their children saw a big metal bridge, or witnessed someone being mashed by a 100 mph train? THe bridge is there for a reason. Do they honestly think that all of Bicester's kiddy-fiddlers will congregate on the bridge in their big raincoats? King Joke
  • Score: 7

12:53am Sat 31 May 14

Andyjs247 says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
Having just re-read the article, surely this would seem to be a gross error on the part of the local planning authority? As with bankers, the Police and MPs, there seems to be no effective body of accountability, and where this is in-place it would appear to be inhibited by slow and cumbersome procedure. Maybe what is required is a massive shake-up of planning, and a much greater public accountability for those employed in planning - together with greater accountability of local councillors and MPs who are supposed to be there for the benefit of the electorate, and not just for a few months before MP and local coumcillor elections, when they promise 'the earth' to try and win votes .......
I'm not sure what extra steps could have been taken in this case. It was dealt with at government level under the Transport and Works Act and there was extensive consultation - Chiltern Railways initial application to the Secretary of State for Transport was in January 2010. There was a public inquiry in Oxford which ran from November 2010 until January 2011. Following objections the inquiry was reopened in 2012. The TWA Order (and also deemed planning permission) was finally granted in October 2012.

The Inspector's report is available online, it all got discussed in much detail as did the alternative of a subway, and they appear to have built what was shown in the drawings. See https://www.gov.uk/g
overnment/publicatio
ns/proposed-chiltern
-railways-bicester-t
o-oxford-improvement
s-inspectors-report

From my understanding, it was noted that there would be some adverse visual impact here, nevertheless the design of the bridge to replace Tubbs Lane crossing was considered acceptable by the TWA Order Inspector.

I suspect it is rather late in the day to be complaining now. What really does concern me is the reported cost of up to £200,000 mitigation for screening.
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: Having just re-read the article, surely this would seem to be a gross error on the part of the local planning authority? As with bankers, the Police and MPs, there seems to be no effective body of accountability, and where this is in-place it would appear to be inhibited by slow and cumbersome procedure. Maybe what is required is a massive shake-up of planning, and a much greater public accountability for those employed in planning - together with greater accountability of local councillors and MPs who are supposed to be there for the benefit of the electorate, and not just for a few months before MP and local coumcillor elections, when they promise 'the earth' to try and win votes .......[/p][/quote]I'm not sure what extra steps could have been taken in this case. It was dealt with at government level under the Transport and Works Act and there was extensive consultation - Chiltern Railways initial application to the Secretary of State for Transport was in January 2010. There was a public inquiry in Oxford which ran from November 2010 until January 2011. Following objections the inquiry was reopened in 2012. The TWA Order (and also deemed planning permission) was finally granted in October 2012. The Inspector's report is available online, it all got discussed in much detail as did the alternative of a subway, and they appear to have built what was shown in the drawings. See https://www.gov.uk/g overnment/publicatio ns/proposed-chiltern -railways-bicester-t o-oxford-improvement s-inspectors-report From my understanding, it was noted that there would be some adverse visual impact here, nevertheless the design of the bridge to replace Tubbs Lane crossing was considered acceptable by the TWA Order Inspector. I suspect it is rather late in the day to be complaining now. What really does concern me is the reported cost of up to £200,000 mitigation for screening. Andyjs247
  • Score: 1

10:37am Sat 31 May 14

Severian says...

If there is so much furore over this bridge agile how much there will be when the new road bridge by the Shell garage gets built. Are the plans for this published yet?
If there is so much furore over this bridge agile how much there will be when the new road bridge by the Shell garage gets built. Are the plans for this published yet? Severian
  • Score: 0

3:55pm Sat 31 May 14

King Joke says...

Why waste £200k on these idiots?

If they don't want a bridge, take it away from them, leave them with a poxy crossing and see how they like it, and put the bridge up at South Hinksey where they've been crying out for one.
Why waste £200k on these idiots? If they don't want a bridge, take it away from them, leave them with a poxy crossing and see how they like it, and put the bridge up at South Hinksey where they've been crying out for one. King Joke
  • Score: 8

1:40am Sun 1 Jun 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

I couldn't understand the fuss when the first article about this bridge was printed, and to be honest, I can't understand why the O.M. has wasted time running another.
Yes, the children might be seen, they might also be seen when they're not at the nursery, unless of course the children are taken away in crates, and don't see the light of day until their parents bring them back.
People can see through the windows, put some net curtains, or Venetian blinds up.
As for the safety of the children, unless the child snatcher from Chitty-Chiity-Bang-B
ang is going to be scooping up children with his net, or, as I've mentioned before, a rogue sniper decides to start picking them off one by one, the bridge is going to be less of a safety issue to the children, than the raised flower beds or fence, which they could get splinters from. (Anyone got 60 metres of bubble-wrap spare)
There is of course a very simple solution, move the nursery somewhere else, no need for extensions, canopies, or screening...........
don't suppose anybody knows of any disused bomb shelters in the area?
I couldn't understand the fuss when the first article about this bridge was printed, and to be honest, I can't understand why the O.M. has wasted time running another. Yes, the children might be seen, they might also be seen when they're not at the nursery, unless of course the children are taken away in crates, and don't see the light of day until their parents bring them back. People can see through the windows, put some net curtains, or Venetian blinds up. As for the safety of the children, unless the child snatcher from Chitty-Chiity-Bang-B ang is going to be scooping up children with his net, or, as I've mentioned before, a rogue sniper decides to start picking them off one by one, the bridge is going to be less of a safety issue to the children, than the raised flower beds or fence, which they could get splinters from. (Anyone got 60 metres of bubble-wrap spare) There is of course a very simple solution, move the nursery somewhere else, no need for extensions, canopies, or screening........... don't suppose anybody knows of any disused bomb shelters in the area? Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 2

8:13am Sun 1 Jun 14

wales01man says...

Dilligaf2010 wrote:
I couldn't understand the fuss when the first article about this bridge was printed, and to be honest, I can't understand why the O.M. has wasted time running another.
Yes, the children might be seen, they might also be seen when they're not at the nursery, unless of course the children are taken away in crates, and don't see the light of day until their parents bring them back.
People can see through the windows, put some net curtains, or Venetian blinds up.
As for the safety of the children, unless the child snatcher from Chitty-Chiity-Bang-B

ang is going to be scooping up children with his net, or, as I've mentioned before, a rogue sniper decides to start picking them off one by one, the bridge is going to be less of a safety issue to the children, than the raised flower beds or fence, which they could get splinters from. (Anyone got 60 metres of bubble-wrap spare)
There is of course a very simple solution, move the nursery somewhere else, no need for extensions, canopies, or screening...........

don't suppose anybody knows of any disused bomb shelters in the area?
That's a good view is the Nursery going to complain when 100mph trains fly past in later years?
We have a big problem in this country its that people like to complain about something after is been passed by planners are they trying to get it removed?not going to happen or how much compo do they want?
[quote][p][bold]Dilligaf2010[/bold] wrote: I couldn't understand the fuss when the first article about this bridge was printed, and to be honest, I can't understand why the O.M. has wasted time running another. Yes, the children might be seen, they might also be seen when they're not at the nursery, unless of course the children are taken away in crates, and don't see the light of day until their parents bring them back. People can see through the windows, put some net curtains, or Venetian blinds up. As for the safety of the children, unless the child snatcher from Chitty-Chiity-Bang-B ang is going to be scooping up children with his net, or, as I've mentioned before, a rogue sniper decides to start picking them off one by one, the bridge is going to be less of a safety issue to the children, than the raised flower beds or fence, which they could get splinters from. (Anyone got 60 metres of bubble-wrap spare) There is of course a very simple solution, move the nursery somewhere else, no need for extensions, canopies, or screening........... don't suppose anybody knows of any disused bomb shelters in the area?[/p][/quote]That's a good view is the Nursery going to complain when 100mph trains fly past in later years? We have a big problem in this country its that people like to complain about something after is been passed by planners are they trying to get it removed?not going to happen or how much compo do they want? wales01man
  • Score: 0

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