The consultation process has consisted of three meetings held over a seven month period.

Network Rail sent out letters which arrived roughly a week before each event. They relied on Councillors to share dates via social media prior to the letters arriving.

Consultation 1 – 5th April 2022

Location: Frimley Community Centre

Consisted of a presentation and various boards set up around the room with visuals. Councillors and attendees requested an open Q&A session.

Presentation 1 (part 1)Presentation 1 (part 2)
Consultation 2 – 5th May 2022

Location: Frimley Green Club

Consisted of a presentation and open Q&A session.

Presentation 2
Consultation 3 – 16th November 2022

Location: Frimley Green Club

Consisted of a presentation and open Q&A session.

Presentation 3
Onsite meeting – cancelled

Network Rail intended to have an onsite meeting at Spencer Close where a cherry picker would be available for residents to see the impact on privacy. Unfortunately this did not happen.

Ongoing communication

Following the second consultation, residents requested a website / repository for all of the information shared by Network Rail. The website has been used to highlight the benefits of the bridge and why it was selected. There have been many delays to getting content added to this.

View website

Representatives from the Mytchett, Frimley Green & Deepcut Society and Spencer Close have also been communicating with Network Rail representatives via email to get answers to questions. Again, response times have been slow.

Engaging with users

Residents asked for wider consultation of the users of the crossing, including commuters, cyclists, dog walkers and fishermen but as far as we are aware, Network Rail have failed to take any steps to consult these groups.

Concerns raised

The consultation process has been poorly organised and communicated.

Prior to the first consultation, all communication referenced “The Hatches”. There was no indication that the proposal was to relocate the crossing to Spencer Close – important information to know when deciding to go to a consultation or not. Residents raised this with Councillors and they in turn shared this feedback with Network Rail, but this was not taken on board.

The first public meeting was extremely poor. The presentation was difficult to see and hear and attendees and Councillors had to push Network Rail to have a Q&A session. Network Rail representatives were unable to answer a large number of questions in satisfactory detail and there was no safety representative from Network Rail – rather important when the whole reason for updating the crossing is on safety grounds! This consultation was held in Frimley Community Centre, so anyone without access to a car would have found it harder to attend this.

The second consultation was better organised but there were access issues – the main doors were locked preventing entrance prior to the start. There was more detail available, but there was still a lot missing around the safety / risk calculations that underpin Network Rail’s decisions.

At none of the consultations did Network Rail count attendees or note any objections. There was no means to record their comments – there should have been forms for people to leave comments at each event.

We have been guided to use the website which is not accessible for everyone and those that do, can only provide feedback and questions via email.

A cherry picker was promised to show how tall the bridge would be. This was cancelled at the last minute and then a new meeting arranged. Publicity for this meeting arrived a couple of days before the event despite being dated over a week before. This is too short notice when people are working.

Network Rail did not rearrange this due to the winter / darker evenings and instead commissioned drone footage as a replacement. No footage has yet been shared and even when it is, Network Rail have said that the drone could not be positioned accurately as it would be too low / near the trees, making this whole process pointless and the concerns have not been addressed.

Residents believe Network Rail have settled upon the footbridge as the only solution to the crossing (with a clear overriding agenda of removing as many level crossings on the network as possible to reduce Network Rail’s ongoing maintenance costs thereby shifting all costs & liability for injuries onto local council/government), then proceeded with a consultation process that could never have had any influence on the company’s plans.

Network Rail has not taken on board a single concern or consideration from the local residents. Nothing that has been said in any of the consultations has had any material effect on the plans whatsoever beyond a vague acknowledgement that they would look into lighting and the maturity of planted trees.

Residents feel the consultation process have been a box ticking exercise and nothing more.

The visualisations and video created by Network Rail provide a misleading representation of the bridge. They have been very selective about what is included (and excluded) and some of the angles and proportions used are unrealistic. These are listed below:

  • Network Rail have chosen to exclude the fence to the South (left) of the entrance which would be required to prevent trespassing on the open land.
  • They haven’t include the 2.1m parapet across the bridge. Which will clearly impact the appearance and make it more enclosed.
  • The fences parallel to the track are at waist height – presumably these would be much higher in reality.
  • The viewpoint height throughout the video is from below the hand rail, so in no way realistic of an adult. To show this whilst talking about “overlooking residents” is strongly misleading.
  • The land looks totally flat in the video, when in reality the train tracks are a couple of meters higher, meaning the entire bridge will be higher up.
  • Rows of mature trees have been strategic positioned to block the view to resident’s gardens. It seems extremely unlikely that this would be the reality from day one, and if it is, I suspect the cost to plant and maintain these would be high.
  • It shows Spencer Close as a wide clear road which it is not. It is a small cul-de-sac with potholes and cars parked along its length. It further shows land being utilised which is not in the control of Network Rail.

Residents have been extremely disappointed by the speed in which Network Rail share information outside the consultations.

A number of residents have found getting a response (or acknowledgement) to questions and information requests via email slow and cumbersome. Some requests have taken in excess of six weeks to get a reply.

Network Rail have put up a web page (as requested), but are using it as a promotional tool rather than an open and transparent source of information. They are only sharing the information that supports the bridge – none of the questions which reflect badly have been added even after multiple requests. There is continued delay on this and now we are being told there is a limited number of questions that can be added which is farsical.

The only method of “having our say” on the website is via email, meaning Network Rail are able to control what and when it is shared. There is little visibly to these responses as it’s all done via email – as to the previous point they are being selective of what they then share.

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