Crossing to get upgrade

AFTER many months of painstaking and often frustrating negotiations, we are very happy to announce that Network Rail has recently sent the following statement relating to the much needed upgrade to Tide Mills Level Crossing.

“Network Rail are now ready to implement phase two of the crossing improvements.

The crossing at Tide Mills will need to be closed from 11.45pm on December 3 to 7am on December 7 inclusive.

During this time, there will be no access over the user worked part of the crossing or more significantly, the public footpath part.”

Obviously all involved locally in this issue are delighted in this final phase announcement and commitment from Network Rail – from December 7 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.

We trust that the need for temporary closure of access to Tide Mills via the level crossing will not cause too much inconvenience.

This brings an end to a true community wide effort to get this crossing upgraded, necessary to reflect the diverse range of visitors to Tide Mills now being experienced, from ‘ordinary’ pedestrians through to archaeologists, fishermen, surfers, families, cyclists and especially wheelchair users.

We would especially like to mention all our local councils, to Newhaven Port and Properties, the land owners, all who have offered financial assistance if required and other logistical help and our local MP, Mr Norman Baker, who has been knocking on doors for us in Government when it was felt necessary to keep this issue “on the boil”.

We also need to thank you for regularly publicising our concerns about the crossing to ensure as much as possible that all those with an interest and true appreciation of this open space are kept informed of progress.

We would also 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.

Obviously, we recognised throughout that Tide Mills level crossing is just one of many that Network Rail have issues with and appreciate also that, especially presently, money for such improvements is stretched to say the least.

We are intending to hold an informal opening celebration at 11am on Wednesday, December 7, where no doubt there will be ample opportunity for more background to this long running issue, and photographs.

Jim Skinner, Chair of the Friends of Tide Mills and Newhaven East Side,

Zena Gibbs, Chair Seaford and Newhaven Access Committee