Residents reject plans for bridge ‘monstrosity’

Gipsy Lane railway crossing in Needham Market ANL-141023-103808001
Gipsy Lane railway crossing in Needham Market ANL-141023-103808001

Needham Market residents told Network Rail bosses they will not accept anthing but an underpass at the Gipsy Lane rail crossing at a heated consulation meeting on Monday

More than 100 residents filled the town’s community centre to voice their objections to a ‘monstrous’ ramped footbridge they fear will be built over the tracks.

Sean Cronin, Sponsorship and Project Manager for the scheme, said Network Rail had ruled out a stepped footbridge over accessibilty concerns but had also ruled out a 1:12 ratio underpass because it was too steep an incline.

He argued a ramped footbridge witha more gradual incline would better suit the project.

However, residents argued that other ramped bridges in the area had been bulit to a similar gradient to the 1:12 undepass and asked why an option of a footpath with a more gentle incline had not been considered.

Roland Wilson, Chairman of the Suffolk Ramblers and member of the Suffolk Local Accessibility Forum said at the meeting: “I wonder how much money you have already spent on investigating all these other options and trying to convince everyone we don’t want an underpass.

“If you had accepted the advice of everyone, and used this as a genuine consulation, you could have been well down the road by now to an underpass.”

Mick Harding, representing Creeting St Mary Parish Council said a bridge would be a ‘monstrosity and a blot on our much-loved landscape’.

Suffolk county councillor Julia Trulove said that the council fully supported the views of the residents, describing the plans for a ramped footbridge as a ‘monstrous carbuncle’.

A Network Rail spokeswoman said: “Following a meeting with residents in Needham Market on Monday March 23 regarding options for Gipsy Lane level crossing, Network Rail will develop further four separate options for the crossing over the next few months. We will work with residents by setting up a project board.”