A NEW bridge over the railway line in Poole is being sought by a councillor who fears for the vitality of the town centre.

Poole People leader and town councillor Mark Howell is concerned about the upgrade to the pedestrian rail crossing in the High Street and a motion has been passed at an area committee meeting calling for it to be monitored.

He says that since Network Rail upgraded the pedestrian crossing the barriers are dropped earlier, resulting in more people waiting longer.

Cllr Howell says: “At times there is so much congestion when the barriers lift there becomes a logjam. Maintaining good pedestrian access over the railway line is critical for the future health of the town centre,” he said.

“The High Street is already struggling, partly because of its length and the time it takes to walk from one end to the other. Difficulties in crossing the railway line will inevitably deter more visitors from walking from the Dolphin Centre along the High Street.”

He said a pedestrian bridge had previously been proposed from the Sainsbury’s site to the Seldown car park in a planning document and he is calling for a disabled accessible bridge.

Cllr Howell said: “It is essential that Poole Council anticipates the likely increase in trains being operated on this line and develops a plan to deliver a new, high quality pedestrian bridge linking town centre north and the High Street.”

Nigel Hutton, transport policy manager Borough of Poole, said: “We are currently completing a number of surveys to assess the changes to the ‘barrier downtimes’ following the commissioning of the new railway signalling scheme. We are currently reviewing the Town Centre Plan and as part of this exercise and looking at pedestrian, cycle, vehicle and train movement through the town centre. We welcome contributions from everyone as we consult and develop the plan,” he said.