A petition has been set up calling on Network Rail to compensate Plumpton’s residents and businesses for the months of disruption caused by the works to the village’s level crossing.
Last week, Lewes District Council “reluctantly” granted Network Rail listed building consent to permanently remove the historic gates at Plumpton Level Crossing.
While the decision will have devastated members of the community, for many it will also come as a reprieve as the village’s main road will reopen.
The road was closed by Network Rail as it started works on the crossing before planning permission was granted. The closure ‘split the village in two’ and forced some residents to travel for an extra seven miles just to get home.
The petition, set up by Cllr Sarah Osborne, Cllr Reg Stone and Katie Wride, states: “We all call on Network Rail to apologise to the people of Plumpton for the way that it handled the renewal of Plumpton Level Crossing by compensating them for months of disruption.
“It has admitted that it started work on the signalling prior to receiving planning permission, which rendered the crossing inoperable.
“For four months, we have suffered with the road closed, cutting the village in two. Elderly residents couldn’t get to the village store, which is a life line for them, especially over Christmas.
“Public and school buses had to be re -routed. Parents faced massive detours to get their children to primary school every day. The safety of villagers was compromised. Emergency vehicles have had to do detours and, during the recent flooding of parallel roads, Plumpton was effectively cut off.
“Disabled and elderly residents haven’t been able to catch the train to go west of the village. We urge Network Rail to do the right thing and apologise to the village by offering a sizeable donation that can be shared with the businesses that have been affected financially and that can compensate the village in a way that the Parish Council can decide through consultation with residents.”
Maria Caulfield MP has also offered her supports to the calls for compensation.
She said: “Those residents and businesses that have been affected will agree that Network Rail have handled this whole sorry situation very badly.
“Residents have suffered for too long and I am now calling on Network rail to work flat out to reopen the road as soon as possible. I would hope they will be able to do this ahead of the advertised date in February.”
Signage in Plumpton currently states the road is due to reopen on February 8.
Maria continued: “Villagers and those affected by the closing of the level crossing, which split the village of Plumpton in half, and led to a seven-mile diversion for those wishing to get from one side of the crossing to the other, have waited long enough for the road to be re-opened.”
The petition can be found here.
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