Network Rail's east west rail link works could block access to Milton Keynes cemetery

Long-awaited work on the east west rail link could have grave consequences - by blocking off a cemetery.

Monday, 3rd September 2018, 2:10 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 2:17 pm
Bletchley Railway Cemetary

Network Rail plan to close a footbridge in Selbourne Avenue, Bletchley, for a “temporary undefined” period when the works take place.

This would mean the entrance to the Selbourne Avenue cemetery is completely block off to relatives wishing to visit their loved ones’ graves.

One resident said: “Network Rail stuck a notice about the plans above a dog poo bin notice 50 yards away, so it took ages for many people to see it.. Now the consultation period is almost over.”

Railway bridge Bletchley

The footbridge closure will also cause huge problems with access to the Scots social club as well as the highly popular football pitches and bowls club.

Bletchley councillor Nigel Long this week urged Network Rail to think again.

“Many local residents have their loved ones buried in the Selbourne Avenue cemetery. It would be uncaring to block access. An alternative route must be found before any work is undertaken to the bridge,” he said.

“This proposal by Network rail must not put community sports at risk or deny the relatives of those buried in the cemetery their right to visit their deceased relatives.”

Following an enquiry from the Citizen, a spokesman for Network Rail said this week:

“Selbourne Avenue underbridge is an existing and retained vehicle/pedestrian access from Selborne Avenue to Scots Sports & Social Club, the allotments, the cemetery and for footpath no.26. The project will be undertaking general repair works to the bridge.”

He added: “ Being conscious of the need to retain access to all of these amenities, the project will maintain a public thoroughfare underneath the bridge for the majority of the works. However, there will be discrete instances where access under the bridge will likely need to be closed. These are planned to be during limited night time works, when public access is least likely to be required.”