PLANS to build a footbridge at Newport railway station to replace a subway where two sex attacks took place have been resurrected by the city council.
Original proposals were shelved in 2008, along with plans to refurbish the station’s Victorian buildings, in a bid to cut costs.
The much-reduced £22 million scheme instead focussed on the creation of a futuristic concourse, completed in 2010.
But now the authority has applied for prior approval permission to build a new footbridge, which would cross the tracks fromQueensway to Devon Place at the rear of the station, replacing the unpopular subway below.
Plans are in the early stages and it is unknown how the scheme would be funded.
Last month Newport rapist Wayne Jackson was jailed indefinitely for committing two sex attacks in the subway within an hour on November 20, 2011. Jackson, 23, of Commercial Road, Pill, sexually assaulted one victim in the underground passageway before going on to rape and rob another woman the same night.
Allt-yr-yn councillor Matthew Evans, who has long campaigned for a new footbridge, welcomed the new proposals.
He said: “I have campaigned tirelessly for a new footbridge, in fact it was the only one of the 22 Ryder Cup legacies which wasn’t completed, which is another reason to try and push it forward.
“I am very pleased that it could finally take place. The subway is extremely unwelcoming and it is an important link into the city centre – it’s an important step forward.”
The graffitied subway is unpopular with residents because its entrance is shielded from view by steps on Queensway and a ramp on Devon Place and a bend in the middle prevents a clear view all the way through.
Although it is lit, a number of its lights do not work and its low ceilings mean it is not high enough for CCTV cameras to be installed.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Get rid of subway
IT IS almost four years since plans to close the notorious subway beneath Newport’s railway station and replace it with a footbridge were scrapped for cost reasons.
The refurbishment of the station went ahead without the bridge, and the unwelcoming, unpopular subway that links Queensway and Devon Place remained in use.
Last year two women were the victims of sex attacks within an hour of each other in the subway.
Now Newport City Council is looking to resurrect the footbridge scheme and get rid of the subway once and for all.
‘Not before time’ is the only proper response to the news. The subway offers a horrendous welcome to Newport for some visitors.
It is dangerous and frightening, particularly for women on their own.
Shelving the footbridge, along with plans to refurbish the station’s Victorian buildings, in 2008, was a real setback for the city.
In its place we now have a futuristic concourse that has won few friends and a subway that is not fit for purpose. Ridding Newport of the latter would be a welcome move.
As we report today, plans are in the early stages and funding has yet to be secured for the bridge. But at least – and at last – something is happening.