CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after Network Rail bosses gave the green light to carrying out the final phase of improvement works at Tide Mills level crossing.
Concerns had previously been raised about the safety of the level crossing after several near misses with passing trains as visitors tried to get across and access the beauty spot.
Now campaigners say after a community wide effort and help from MP Norman Baker, who presented the issue to central government, Network Rail have agreed to upgrade the crossing, giving pedestrians safer access from December 7.
Jim Skinner, chair of the Friends of Tide Mills and Newhaven East Side, said: “Obviously all involved locally in this issue are delighted in this final phase announcement and commitment from Network Rail. All pedestrian users of the crossing will at long last be able to access Tide Mills, this much loved and special open space, some for the very first time, in much greater safety than has been the case for many years.”
He thanked local councils, land owners Newhaven Port and Properties and MP Norman Baker, as well as the Sussex Express and other media, for their support.
He added: “We also would wish to acknowledge Network Rail who, once convinced of the diverse and increasingly high numbers of visitors to Tide Mills nowadays, and the inherent hazardous nature of the existing crossing design, put the new design together in a timely way and for taking into account our local input.”
Mr Baker said he was pleased the issue had been resolved. He said: “I am delighted that this particular journey is now within sight of its destination. This will improve accessibility for many people and is to be warmly welcomed. I would like to pay tribute to Jim Skinner for his determined efforts and Network Rail for engaging helpfully and constructively.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said: “Many people have put a lot of time and effort into making these changes to the crossing happen so it is easier for everyone to enjoy Tide Mills.
“With more people expected to use the upgraded crossing, we want to remind people to follow the instructions and not take any risks when crossing the railway.”
The crossing will close from 11:45pm on December 3 until 7am on December 7 so work can take place.