Don’t Split Egham In Two!

Monday, 24 April 2017 11:23

A potentially very important meeting about the future of the Egham level crossings is to be held on Monday (April 24). Local councillors will be privately briefed by officers of Surrey County Council on schemes to create direct rail access into Heathrow from the Egham/Camberley/Woking/Basingstoke direction. And much of the discussion can be expected to focus on a report that was presented to the county council in December by the firm Arup.

This document puts forward a number of options. And the most alarming, in my opinion, is one that it numbers Option 1c.

This proposes that:

  1. “Egham level crossing”  - the one by Egham station  - “is closed and replaced with footbridge only”.
  2. “Pooley Green level crossing track lowered beneath highway to make it a grade separate junction.”
  3. Thorpe Road level crossing “is closed and traffic diverted via outer routes”.
  4. “Rusham level crossing (Whitehall-Lane/Prune Hill) is closed and replaced with new road bridge to the south of the existing crossing.”

Something plainly needs to be done about the level crossings even if we don’t get additional Heathrow trains. But the idea of closing the crossing by the station to road traffic is appalling; the area including Rusham Park Avenue, Whitehall Lane and the Manorcrofts estate would be cut off from the town, and this area includes the Manorcroft schools.

I dare say the idea of closing the Thorpe Road crossing will also go down like a lead balloon in Egham Hythe.

I trust that the local councillors will make it clear on Monday that Option 1c is anathema and cannot be allowed to happen.

And it almost certainly won’t be implemented if the Heathrow 3rd runway isn’t built. This is yet another bad headache created by the Government’s betrayal of local people in its U-turn go-ahead for Heathrow expansion. 

Hip hip hooray. The new automatic rising bollards that will allow Egham High Street finally to become fully pedestrianised between 11am and 4pm are due to become operational next Friday (April 28).

The bollard system will replace the gate, at the western end of the pedestrian zone, that has long been treated as an object of contempt by opportunistic drivers. 

After closing the gate at 3.30pm a few days ago, my wife was literally given a two-fingered salute by the driver of a 4X4 even though a sign by the gate says very clearly that the High St is a pedestrian zone at that time. 

I look forward to an imminent end to such anti-social – and, indeed, illegal – behaviour, and to less-polluted shopping.

Written By Chris Fisher (Vice Chairman ETT)