Letter To The Editor: Merton Hall Road Footbridge

Dear Editor,

The footbridge over the railway between Merton Hall Road and Elm Grove has been in a terrible state for years.

In my experience, it's always been difficult to get Network Rail to take action on maintenance issues like this.

Throughout 2011/2012, we had to threaten their Chief Executive with a litter abatement order to get them to clear railway land under and around the bridge.

During 2013 we lobbied for either Merton Council and Network Rail to improve lighting on the bridge. We eventually got the Council to come and measure light levels. They were satisfied that it was okay, although the bridge remains gloomy at night.

In December 2013, through my Neighbourhood Watch group I organised a litter pick of the footbridge (and Merton Hall Road), because neither the Council nor Network Rail had taken the responsibility for cleaning it in months.

In April this year I noticed that a number of the steps on the bridge had become loose and dangerous, easy to trip on or slip down - and reported them to Network Rail straight away - imagining that the risk of injury would make them fix it quickly. Sadly I was wrong, and nagging/reminding them since has received no helpful response or action.

We've been helping and encouraging people to submit individual complaints about this, on the basis that weight of numbers might get action. But a Network Rail official recently admitted to a neighbour that the reason for the delay was that the upkeep of the bridge fell between two departments.

Frankly, given the risk of injury, this is just not acceptable.

We're calling on Network Rail to bring this dangerous bridge up to standard as soon as possible - and to make temporary repairs to the loose steps to make it safe straight away.

Anthony Fairclough
126 Merton Hall Road

(on behalf of Dundonald Liberal Democrats)

October 13, 2014