Safety fear over controversial Doncaster railway pedestrian underpass plan

Controversial plans to build an underpass linking a new estate to Bessacarr under the Doncaster to Lincoln railways line are set to be completed by July.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 12:58 pm

Work on the pedestrian tunnel under the tracks will start in January, and will create a route from the new Manor Farm estate into Kelsey Gardens in Bessacarr.

It will see the railway line closed next Easter, April 10 until April 13, while a prefabilcated concrete tunnel is inserted through a hole under the tracks.

Residents have previously raised concerns that it will lead to streams of people passing through a small cul-de-sac and that it may lead to nuisance behaviour around the facility.

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Artists impression of the underpass that will link the Manor Farm estate in Besscarr, with the rest of the village, taking people under the railway line

Network Rail this week held a public information event at St Francis Church café on Nostell Place, Bessacarr, to explain the project.

Deborah Armitstead, of Network Rail, said they had looked at four or five locations in terms of water tables before deciding on the location, and also considered a footbridge. A bridge would have been diffciult to build because of the space that would be needed for ramps.

She said there would be 360 degree CCTV cameras on each side of the underpass as a security measure.

Kelsey Gardens resident Phil Midgeley had previously raised concerns that the tunnel would 'spoil the amenity' for residents who will have people tramping through their estate. He said: "It is the only crossing of the railway and will be the route that people need to take to get to schools in Bessacarr."

Catherine Hollinghurst, 18, and Joe Marriott, 18, at the Bessacarr Underpass exhibition.

Pals Catherine Hollinghurst, and Joe Marriott, both 18, from Cantley, both attended the event at Nostell Place. They said they would sooner that news homes were not being built on a greenfield site in Doncaster.

Catherine said: “There’s a need for housing but for the environment, I’d rather they were not building houses there.”

Joe added: “If there’s a space there it might become a congregation point for youths, even with CCTV.”

Kate Needham, of the Green Party also attended the session. She said her mum lived in the area, and said she had safety fears as well as concerns over the housing development itself on what was previously farmland.

Artists impression of the underpass that will link the Manor Farm estate in Besscarr, with the rest of the village, taking people under the railway line

She said “There’s a curve in the underpass and that means you can’t see who’s in there when they’re approaching you.”

Persimmon Homes were granted permission to built at Manor Farm in 2009 on the condition they would construct the underpass from Kelsey Gardens when 150 homes were occupied.

But developers admitted they had surpassed the figure, with 194 homes already occupied. Doncaster Council rejected an application they made to increase the number of homes they could build before the tunnel was built.

Richard Hosie, director in charge at Persimmon Homes South Yorkshire, said: “We are creating a major new development in Bessacarr, which will feature 900 homes.

Deborah Armitstead of Network Rail, at the public exhibition of the underpass linking the Manor Farm estate to the rest of Bessacarr

“Approximately 230 homes have been occupied. We are working towards completing the entire development by 2028.

“We are pleased that the construction of the new railway underpass will provide a safe public passageway for the Bessacarr community. This enables them to access the green spaces we have created that are maintained by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

“In addition, the new underpass will also provide our customers with a safer way to access the local community.”

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Kate Needham, of the Green Party, at the public exhibition of the underpass linking the Manor Farm estate to the rest of Bessacarr