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Residents say plans to replace Great Barton level crossing unnecessary and excessive

Mark Westley Photography
Thurston level crossing, new footbridge plans, angry Heath Road residents Christopher Quelch, Christine Davis, Maxwell Hales and Jenny Bird. ANL-140625-194451009

Mark Westley Photography Thurston level crossing, new footbridge plans, angry Heath Road residents Christopher Quelch, Christine Davis, Maxwell Hales and Jenny Bird. ANL-140625-194451009

Residents have labelled a rail operator’s plans to replace Great Barton level crossing with a footbridge as unnecessary and excessive.

In its planning statement, Network Rail says the benefits of its proposal for a stepped and ramped bridleway bridge will outweigh the ‘design impact’.

But, in a formal objection to St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Nigel Rhodes, of Heath Road, has branded the proposal a waste of money and said ‘a traffic light system with locking gates would have been far more sensible’.

He criticised the design and said there had been no recent history of misuse or injury to necessitate a bridge.

His neighbour, Maxwell Hales, said the bridge would look like ‘a huge industrial fire escape’ and was unnecessary on ‘what is by far the least dangerous part’ of the journey from Thurston to Bury St Edmunds.

A Network Rail spokeswoman said the closure was part of an ongoing investment programme to improve level crossing safety which had already seen 700 level crossings across Britain close since 2009, including more than 100 in the East of England.

She said Great Barton level crossing had been chosen primarily owing to its frequency of use, and the fact it is on a cycle route often used by tourists.

She added: “It cuts across a busy train route that runs services from Peterborough, Cambridge and Ipswich. There was also a reported near miss with a pedestrian in 2012.”

 

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