Uttlesford level crossing closures could 'split village in two'

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 September 2016

Train going through Elsenham rail station. Picture: SaffronPhoto

Train going through Elsenham rail station. Picture: SaffronPhoto

SaffronPhoto 2016

A parish councillor has claimed his Uttlesford village would be "cut off" if plans to close a level crossing - one of nine to be shut in the district - go ahead.

The proposed closures or changes concern crossings in the Saffron Walden area, including one by Fullers End, Elsenham Emergency Hut, Ugley Lane, and Henham.

Crossings called Elephant, Dixies, Windmill, Wallaces and Littlebury Gate House will also be shut under the plans from Network Rail.

Campbell Dunn, Elsenham parish councillor, believes the Fullers End crossing would cut off a vital footpath in the area.

He said: “The one at Fullers End will have the biggest impact on the village because it will cut off the village from another part.

“They have said there is a pedestrian tunnel, and there is an alternative route within 100 yards and a Victorian underpass, but there is no guarantee that it will be used.

“If they were able to say that they would open the underpass then yes, it would be acceptable – but without it, it will cut off the village.”

Residents across the area are invited to a second round of consultation events about the level crossing changes.

Initial proposals were released in June regarding 61 level crossings in Essex and, based on feedback received, the options have now been refined for each crossing.

An event for the second consultation will be held at Newport Village Hall on Thursday September 22, from 2-6.30pm.

Network Rail says the closures and changes will make the railway safer by removing points where people cross train lines, as well as improving reliability of services.

None of the crossings in the second round of proposals involve closing public A or B roads.

Richard Schofield, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “The initial consultations were very successful and we gathered a lot of useful feedback.

“I’d encourage anyone interested to come along to see the updated proposals and share any concerns or ideas with us, before we put these forward under Transport and Works Act Orders early next year.

“The proposals include small changes to how people cross the railway and the closures will help us reduce the risks that level crossings pose, improve safety and reliability of the railway for the future.”

Information about the plans is available on the Network Rail web site, and those unable to attend an event can complete a questionnaire online at www.networkrail.co.uk/anglialevelcrossings. Questionnaires close 21 days after each event.

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