Network Rail spare three of the 19 level crossings in East Cambridgeshire it proposes to close
PUBLISHED: 17:29 05 December 2016
Network Rail has spared three of the original 19 level crossings in East Cambridgeshire it proposes to close.
A Network Rail spokesman confirmed tonight the following three crossings were no longer being considered for closure after research had found no “safe and convenient” diversion could be found.
Adelaide level crossing near Ely
Wicken Road level crossing at Soham
Poplar Drove level crossing at Littleport
The news came as Network Rail responded to criticism by Cambridgeshire County Council who claimed the closures were being pushed through “without due regard to the impact on the highway network”.
A Network Rail spokesman said consultation had been top of their agenda and they had organised number events across the region.
“We have carried out a comprehensive programme of consultation, including 25 public events across the region and dozens of meetings with key stakeholders, to fully understand the impact of our proposals,” he said.
“We understand that country life is important to people in Cambridgeshire, and that is why we have identified diversionary routes, and in order to spend public money wisely, those routes make use of existing paths and bridges.
“We have already withdrawn some crossings from the proposals where a safe and convenient diversion can’t be found.”
The spokesman said the ultimate decision on the proposals will be made by the Secretary of State.
“Nevertheless, Network Rail is committed to improving safety and efficiency at level crossings, as part of its Railway Upgrade Plan, so that it is better able to meet the increasing demand for rail travel across the region,” the spokesman added.
The county council criticised Network Rail is also criticised for using a technical device for consultation that has forced the authority to spend £25,000 (400 man hours) tackling the closures.
And Network Rail faces criticism from the county council “for not working truly in partnership and is pursuing its own agenda of reducing its asset liability” without regard to users.
The council also criticised the Network Rail Diversity Impact Assessment Scoping Report which they claim is “fundamentally flawed in respects of its duties under the Equalities Act 2010”.
The county says Network Rail has failed to adequately assess the impact of the closures and the alternative routes on users, communities and vulnerable groups.
A public inquiry is now almost certain to decide which, if any, closures can go ahead or indeed if all can go ahead.