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Blow to bid to keep Newmarket's Weatherby railway foot crossing open as Network Rail objects to planner inspector's decision

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Campaigners and councillors fighting to keep Newmarket’s Weatherby railway foot crossing open are facing another challenge from the rail company which wants it closed.

Network Rail, which has been trying to close the crossing since at least 2016, has objected to planning inspector Mark Yates’ decision to declare the crossing – which links two halves of the town – a restricted byway, siding with Newmarket Town Council’s case that it has always been a route for pedestrians.

That decision came after a public inquiry, which was opened in October last year, and cost the council more than £40,000 in legal fees.

Weatherby railway foot crossing in Newmarket
Weatherby railway foot crossing in Newmarket

At a meeting on Monday, when town councillors were informed of Network Rail’s objection, deputy mayor Cllr Chris O’Neill said: “I would like to know how much public money they (Network Rail) have spent on trying to close this because I am sure it would have been enough to build 15 bridges over the railway line.”

Councillors agreed to recommend liaising with their inquiry barrister, Merrow Golden, over the next step.

Network Rail has lost two inquiries into the future of the crossing. It has consistently claimed the crossing was unsafe and that its alternative suggested route via New Cheveley Road would only be a small inconvenience to pedestrians.

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