A campaign to force Southeastern trains to re-open gate 4 at Lewisham station is gathering pace.

Commuters have long been critical of the company’s decision to close the gate, forcing passengers approaching from Silk Mills Path to walk seven minutes around to the other side of the station to catch their train.

Southeastern says it shut the gate for safety reasons as there is not enough room to install automatic barriers.

A spokesman also said the exit leads onto a busy road and that there had been a number of near misses with pedestrians and passing cars.

An online petition currently has 374 signatures with Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander recently joining the campaign.

Petition organiser Paul Speller said: “Large numbers of new dwellings such as Silkworks and Silvermill have gone up on the east side of Lewisham station in recent years, adding to the already significant number of people approaching the station from that side.

“People are having to walk all the way around the front of the station, increasing their walking time by about half the time their train will take to reach London Bridge once they finally get to it.

“But the final straw is that the eastern arm of Station Road is shut for more than a year while the major Lewisham Gateway development is built, including a rerouted Station Road.

“This adds yet more minutes to the walk around as pedestrians need to go all the way past the roundabout, along to the front of Lewisham DLR station and up the other stretch of Station Road to get to the railway station.

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“This problem could be resolved by simply opening the Platform 4 gate up all day every day and adding a pair of normal standalone Oyster readers near it.”

Earlier this month MP Heidi Alexander said: “I have been raising this point with Southeastern for a number of years, but the issue has taken on new importance given the regeneration scheme underway next to Lewisham station.

“Access to the station is being temporarily restricted as a result of this work and at the very least, I believe there should be a temporary re-opening of the Platform 4 Gate.”

To sign the petition, click here