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Level crossing closure could have "considerable impact" on trading in Poole
THE level crossing that cuts between Poole’s High Street and the shopping centre is to be closed to pedestrians for nine days at the end of February.
Network Rail is to upgrade the signalling and equipment at what is one of the busiest pedestrian level crossings in the country, on the main rail line to Waterloo.
However this means that the barriers will be down and the crossing shut to shoppers from 12.05am on Saturday February 23 to 4am on March 4.
While the footbridge will remain open and will be the only way across for those able to climb the steps, there will be someone on hand to help those with pushchairs and wheelchairs cross.
“The improvements are planned to reduce risk and improve safety and reliability and are part of a larger re-signalling project between Poole and Wool,” said a Network Rail spokesman.
“We are working with the local authority to facilitate the closure and those who are unable to use the footbridge or nearby subway will be able to use the level crossing with assistance from a crossing keeper who will be on site 24-hours a day.
“Any closure will be temporary and the crossing will reopen once the upgrade is complete. This is a busy level crossing and we would ask for people’s patience while this essential work takes place.”
In a letter to traders, Dolphin Shopping Centre manager John Grinnell said: “Network Rail has been left in no uncertain terms that this closure has the potential to have a considerable impact on the already precarious trading position within the town centre.”
He added: “I appreciate this news will not necessarily be welcomed by traders but hopefully everyone will understand the need for this to be done, and that being the busiest pedestrian level crossing in the country, “Network Rail are keen for this site to be upgraded.”
Martin Baker, senior road safety engineer at the Borough of Poole, said the council understood the need to carry out essential improvement works to the level crossing.
“We are working closely with them to ensure residents safety whilst using the level crossing during this period.
“In addition we hope disruption to local businesses will be kept to a minimum and Network Rail completes the works at the earliest opportunity,” he added.