Network Rail has developed proposals to manage the possible closure or change of use of around 130 level crossings in Anglia across Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Essex, Havering, Hertfordshire, Southend and Thurrock.
A first round of public consultation events took place in June 2016. A second round of consultation events took place in September/October and December 2016. Following analysis of all the responses and listening to public and stakeholder concerns and ideas, a small number of crossings originally identified for closure or change were removed from the project and final proposals were submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport to consider.
A public enquiry is due to begin on 18 October 2017.
Essex County Council has been working with Network Rail and a variety of local partners over a number of years led by the Great Eastern Mainline Taskforce and West Anglia Mainline Taskforce to build the case for investment in significantly increased rail capacity to provide more frequent services, reduced journey times and a much-improved journey experience for all rail passenger. This would help to support sustainable economic growth throughout Essex and provide access to employment, education and training.
However, Essex County Council has a responsibility to protect and maintain the Public Rights of Way (PRoW) network, ensuring that it is accessible and safe for the many users of the network. The PRoW network also provides invaluable local transport links, use of the network provides proven health benefits and the network is also a valuable contributor to the local economy.
Essex County Council therefore has had to balance the different responsibilities we have; accepting that there are locations where closure of a level crossing may improve safety or benefit our strategic aims, but noting that there are also locations where the level crossing has a value to the local community or local economy that outweighs any potential strategic benefit for rail services.
Therefore, the County Council objects to the application for the Network Rail (Essex and Others Level Crossing Reduction) Order and in particular to:
- Footpath 12 and 22, Benfleet (E30 Ferry and E31 Brickyard – London Tilbury and Southend Main Line);
- Footpath 23, Rettendon (E38 Battlesbridge – Southminster Branch Line);
- Footpaths 4 and 5, Alresford (E43 High Elm – Walton/Clacton Branch Line);
- Footpath 19, Wrabness (E48 Wheatsheaf – Harwich Branch Line);
- Footpath 11, Wakes Colne (E51 Thornfield Wood – Sudbury Branch Line);
- Footpath 21, Mount Bures (E52 Golden Square – Sudbury Branch Line);
We will look to update the public as soon as more information becomes available. You can find out more about Network Rail’s consultation on their website.