A BID to demolish a historic railway bridge in South Oxfordshire will now go to a public hearing.

The government's Planning Inspectorate has announced it will use the meeting to hear petitions from Network Rail over why it wants to knock down Steventon Road bridge as part of its electrification of the Great Western Mainline.

It will also hear submissions from residents who are trying to fight the demolition.

The date of the hearing has not yet been announced.

Read also: Fresh hopes for villagers fighting bridge demolition

However in the meantime, Vale of White Horse District Council has also asked the planning inspectorate to delay the process while Network Rail carries out modelling to see if it could avoid knocking down the bridge at all.

The council's planning committee refused Network Rail planning permission to demolish the bridge last summer, partly because it would force the closure of the main road into the village for 10 months.

Network Rail said straight away it would look to appeal against the decision, but the appeal process only formally began this month.

However, somewhat confusingly, the company also said it was 'looking at new modelling techniques' that could eliminate the need to get rid of the structure.