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Plan to close 30 level crossings in Suffolk

Level crossing ANL-160526-102431001
Level crossing ANL-160526-102431001

Thirty level crossings in Suffolk could be closed in a bid to improve safety and train services.

Network Rail is planning to close or change the crossings on rights of way - none of which involve shutting public A or B roads.

They include six in the Bury St Edmunds area and 16 in Stowmarket with consultation events to be held in both towns.

Richard Schofield, Network Rail’s route managing director for Anglia, said: “I’d encourage anyone interested to come along see our initial plans, ask our level crossings team questions and share any concerns or ideas with us. We know that public Rights of Way are an important part of country life in this region, and where possible, we will maintain this connectivity with the countryside, and in some cases will improve the Rights of Way network.

“Our plans to close level crossings propose small changes to how people cross the railway but the closures will help us reduce the risks that level crossings pose, improve safety and reliability of the railway for the future.”

However, Mike Carter, of the Suffolk Crossings group, said accident rates could increase if the closures go ahead — which could force cyclists and horse riders onto the roads with trucks, motorcycles and lorries.

He urged the those opposing the proposed changes to attend the public consultation events to get their voices heard.

Jo Churchill, MP for Bury and Stowmarket, has met with Network Rail to discuss the crossings.

She said: “I have been assured the crossings have been identified where road disruptions for motorists, can be avoided. Furthermore, in the interest of local people and as a public matter, all county councillors will be kept informed of the plans.”

The consultation sessions will be at St Edmundsbury Primary School, in Bury, on June 11 from 11am to 3pm and Stowmarket Community Centre on June 14 from 3pm to 8pm.

The results of the consultation will feed into agreed plans that will then be put forward under the Transport & Works Act Orders early next year.

Closures, if agreed, will be in 2018 and 2019.

In Bury, the crossings are Weatherby, Higham, Higham Ground Frame, Cattishall, Barrels and Grove Farm.

In Stowmarket, they are Leggetts, Gooderhams, Fords Green, Steggals, Finningham, Gislingham, Paynes, Cow Pasture Lane, Rectory Road, Beecroft, Abbotts, Hawk End Lane, Lords No.29, Mutton Hall, Haughley Green and Bacton. Visit www.networkrail.co.uk/anglialevelcrossings