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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