RESIDENTS have raised concerns about plans to close a railway level crossing at the centre of safety fears in Chandler's Ford.

Councillor Alan Broadhurst says he has been contacted by worried residents after plans were revealed to remove the footpath crossing the line where rail bosses say there have been a number of recent near misses.

As reported by the Daily Echo incidents included children playing ‘chicken’ on the line – causing a train to make an emergency stop, a mum and toddler almost being hit by a train and a shot was fired at a carriage by a vandal with an air rifle.

But Cllr Broadhurst said closing the stretch could leave residents without a “vital link” to local services and he has launched a bid to try and prevent the plan from going ahead.

The crossing is one of six in Hampshire that railway bosses are looking at closing due to safety fears.

Users would either be directed to the nearest crossing over the railway or a new footbridge would be installed.

Cllr Broadhurst, who represents Chandler’s Ford West, says the level crossing off Sutherlands Way links Valley Park and the doctors’ surgery off Hursley Road as well as a pharmacy and a convenience store.

If closed residents, including many who are elderly, would face an extra three- quarters-of-a-mile walk and it would leave them “isolated” he said.

He is also concerned people would have to negotiate car parks and would be tempted to cross Hursley Road at its busiest point rather than walk back to the nearest pelican crossing.

“The rail crossing was there for a line that has one passenger train once an hour and a very occasional goods train.

“You have got to weigh up the dangers of the extra walk coming out through a car park and coming out on to Hursley Road at a busy point without a crossing with the dangers of crossing the line.”

He added that he had never heard of any problems or misuse at the crossing and said the best solution would be a footbridge at the same location.

He will ask councillors at the Chandler’s Ford and Hiltingbury Local Area committee meeting to lodge an objection with Hampshire County Council and Net-work Rail. The meeting is at the Dovetail Centre in Winchester Road, Chand-ler’s Ford, tomorrow at 7pm.