Network Rail has written to residents to apologise for the disruption caused by the current closure of Plumpton level crossing.
The letter also sets out the possible steps that could enable the crossing to reopen in the short term, while working to find an acceptable, safe, long-term solution for crossing users and the community.
Network Rail said independent risk assessments conducted over the past few years have identified the level crossing as a high safety risk, as well as being increasingly difficult to operate and maintain.
A £2m redevelopment plan was proposed in 2014 and Network Rail has been working with Lewes District Council since then in order to submit plans to redevelop the level crossing.
Listed building consent to remove the gates at the level crossing was rejected by the council’s planning committee on September 30. By this time, other work to upgrade the signalling at the level crossing site had already taken place, meaning the original level crossing cannot be reopened immediately for safety reasons.
Steve Knight, area director for Network Rail, said: “We sincerely apologise to local residents for the disruption caused by the current closure of Plumpton level crossing.
“No level crossing is entirely safe or risk free, but we know we have to find a safer long term solution for the level crossing at Plumpton. We cannot stand idly by and allow an outdated, high-risk crossing to remain in use when we know we can make it much safer.
“We were wrong to assume that planning permission would be granted on September 30 and should not have started work on site until this consent had been given.
“The resignalling work we have done at the site of the level crossing means the road cannot be reopened immediately.
“We are currently conducting a risk assessment to identify what measures need to be put in place to safely reopen the crossing and the road as soon as possible, while we continue to work with the community and the district council to find a safe, long-term solution.”
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