Plans to close four Peterborough level crossings are welcomed

Level crossing at Lolham.'Photo: MSMP030413-022ow ENGEMN00120130304195211

Level crossing at Lolham.'Photo: MSMP030413-022ow ENGEMN00120130304195211

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A proposal to close four level crossings in Peterborough, to make way for faster trains to London, has been welcomed by councillors.

Proposals by Network Rail are expected to be sent to the Department for Transport (DFT) in the autumn should government funding be secured.

The planned closures are in: Woodcroft Road (to the southeast of Helpston), Glinton Road, Helpston, Maxey Road, Helpston, and Lolham Bridges.

The level crossing at Tallington, which is outside the remit of Peterborough City Council, would also close.

Alternative access arrangements such as bridges and footpaths would be included for motorists and other travellers such as cyclists.

Councillors speaking at the Scrutiny Commission for Rural Communities on Monday (March 16) appeared pleased with the plans.

Although council planning officers admitted to concerns on the impact of traffic in neighbouring villages, in particular if the Lolham Bridges crossing is shut, councillors were more optimistic.

Councillor David Sanders said: “I’m going to state the obvious. You are never going to please all the people all the time.

“It certainly has my support. It’s doing the greater good for the greatest number of people.

“I accept road closures will increase traffic, but at the Helpston route which I use regularly I’ve all too often seen emergency vehicles stuck at the crossing.

“Also, people try to jump the orange light because they are fed up with waiting too long.

“It will be an eyesore, but for those people who need the emergency services it’s priceless and worth every penny.”

Cllr David Harrington said: “The advantages of these proposals outweigh the disadvantages but there will be a fall out.”

Addressing Network Rail officials, who were present, he added: “Do not leave after your end is done.

“These roads are used considerably. Afterwards, I want to make sure we can come back and say ‘we need this to be sorted’ and you will help.”

Paula Cuthbertson, speaking for Network Rail, said: “That’s why we are doing traffic modelling now. We are hoping it will give us a good representation of what the outcome will be.”

A word of warning came from Cllr John Okonkowski who said: “Network Rail want to do the job and Network Rail should pay for it all.”

Cllr Ed Murphy said: “Can we make sure footpaths and cycle routes will be linked up?”

Ms Cuthbertson, and Philip Clark, another representative for Network Rail, said that feasibility studies were still ongoing and that a cost for the project had not been decided, although it was described as substantial.

The crossings due to be shut are on the East Coast Main Line between London and Doncaster.

Full details of the alternative arrangements can be found at http://www.networkrail.co.uk/improvements/east-coast-main-line/ecml-level-crossings/

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