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Newmarket campaigners hope battle to save Weatherby rail crossing is coming to an end



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Campaigners who have fought a six-year battle to keep Newmarket’s Weatherby rail crossing open are hoping the long-running saga is finally coming to an end.

In May, planning inspector Mark Yates decided the crossing should be classified as a restricted byway, meaning pedestrians using it to get from one side of the town to the other could still do so.

That decision is now being advertised by Suffolk County Council, as the law demands, so any objections can be raised.

Newmarket railway foot crossing campaigners Rachel Wood, Cllr Peter Hulbert and Michael Smy. Picture: Mark Westley
Newmarket railway foot crossing campaigners Rachel Wood, Cllr Peter Hulbert and Michael Smy. Picture: Mark Westley

And campaigners are hoping Network Rail, which announced it wanted to close the crossing on safety grounds back in 2016, will, this time, accept the inspector’s decision which reaffirmed his original findings made four years previously.

The fight to keep the crossing open has so far cost Newmarket Town Council around £40,000. The most recent and third inquiry, in May, lasted nine days.

Newmarket residents Michael Smy and Dr Rachel Wood have worked closely with the council, collating evidence for the fight to keep the crossing open.

The disputed Weatherby crossing in Newmarket.
The disputed Weatherby crossing in Newmarket.

Speaking after the inspector’s decision earlier this year, Dr Wood, praised Mr Smy for his efforts and the 32 witnesses who had given evidence.

“I would like them to be remembered, because this has been going on for a very long time and I know some of them are no longer with us,” she said.

“I would also like to thank the Newmarket Journal for access to its archives which provided invaluable evidence of this route having public status and widespread use of the crossing.

"Its reports were the critical ones because of the level of detail they provided.”

Objections can be raised between July 28 and August 25.