Meetings offer last chance to have your say on level crossing closures

Tallington level crossing. File picture.'Photo: MSMP040314-006ow EMN-140503-114521001
Tallington level crossing. File picture.'Photo: MSMP040314-006ow EMN-140503-114521001

People living near busy level crossings have one final chance to give their views on plans to close them and replace some with bridges.

Network Rail wants to shut most of the road crossings on the East Coast Main Line, including those in Tallington, Helpston and surrounding villages.

The company used people’s responses to an initial consultation in June and July to come up with preferred options for the crossings. These will now be put forward for further consultation at meetings this month.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are continuing our feasibility study to explore options to close Tallington and Helpston level crossings. We have considered the wide range of feedback we received during, and following, our first round of public consultations held in 2014.

“This feedback was from individuals, groups, stakeholders and the local authorities.

“As a result of this feedback, our preferred options for the closure of level crossings (and alternative ways of crossing the railway where necessary) at Lolham, Helpston Maxey, Woodcroft, Tallington, Greatford and Casewick, (these crossings are closely linked through a local highway network) will be presented at four public exhibitions.”

In Tallington, Network Rail wants to close the crossing on the A1175 and build a new road bridge to the north. The company initially suggested a bridge right next to the existing crossing or a bridge to the south, with a road cutting back through the village. Several houses would have needed to be knocked down for the southern route.

But after a huge negative response from villagers the company changed direction and came up with a northern route.

The Thurlby family, which owns much of the land to the north of Tallington, is working with Tallington Parish Council on a wider bypass route which it is hoped Network Rail will consider. The family has agreed to provide 50 per cent of any increased land value, created by light industrial units on land behind the existing filling station and limited housing to the north or west of the village, to make up the shortfall in funding for the road.

Parish council chairman Geoff Mayling said the Thurlby proposal would be displayed alongside Network Rail’s plans.

He added: “Network Rail’s proposal has not been well received in Tallington. It is yet another unacceptable ‘in village route’ that will not bring any benefits to Tallington. In fact we believe that this proposal will bring more traffic and pollution to Tallington.”

Coun Mayling encouraged everyone to come to the public exhibitions. He said: “We would urge as many residents of Tallington as possible to attend and record their comments on the Network Rail proposal.

“Network Rail cancelled the two initial ‘in village’ routes after receiving 160 comments/objections. Let us hope that a similar number of comments/objections are also received for this proposal and Network Rail has to rethink their proposals.”

Network Rail also wants to close two smaller crossings north of Tallington. It wants to close the road crossing between Greatford and Belmesthorpe and divert drivers over the railway via the Greatford Road bridge.

The company also wants to shut the pedestrian level crossing at Casewick, with walkers being diverted to the Greatford Road bridge.

In Helpston the plan is to close the main road crossing in Glinton Road, one of the busiest in the country, and build a bridge in the “immediate vicinity”. The level crossing in Maxey Road, Helpston, would also close and be replaced by a bridge for private vehicles and bridleway access. Public traffic would be diverted through the village and via the new bridges.

Network Rail also wants to close the road crossing in King Street, Lolham, and the nearby footpath crossing to the east. They would be replaced by a foot and cycle bridge. Traffic would again be diverted through Helpston and Tallington.

Finally, the firm also plans to close the manned crossing in Woodcroft Road, east of Helpston. Traffic and pedestrians would be diverted over the new bridge.

People will be able to have their say on Network Rail’s preferred options at four public exhibitions. They will be held on:

l January 20, 4pm to 8pm, in Helpston village hall, West Street, Helpston.

l January 21, 4pm to 8pm, Tallington village hall, Main Road, Tallington.

l January 24, 11am to 3pm, Bainton Reading Room, Barnack Road, Bainton.

l January 31, 11am to 2pm, Tallington Village Hall.

The exhibition boards and questionnaire will also be published online at https://consultations.networkrail.co.uk.