Network Rail banned from removing level crossing gates

Plumpton level crossing. Source: Network Rail SUS-151018-113147001
Plumpton level crossing. Source: Network Rail SUS-151018-113147001

Lewes District Council has successfully obtained an injunction banning Network Rail from removing Plumpton’s level crossing gates without planning permission.

Following a public meeting last Friday (October 16), Network Rail announced it would remove the historic gates this weekend and install an automatic barrier in order to allow the road to reopen by the end of November.

The company insisted it would keep the gates safe until a long-term solution for the crossing had been agreed.

The announcement had local residents and councillors in uproar and swift action has been taken to prevent Network Rail going ahead as planned.

Plumpton’s District Councillor Sarah Osborne said: “This is what you get when you don’t listen to local communities and try to ride roughshod over planning law.

“Network Rail made it clear after the public meeting on Friday night that they were intending to go ahead with the work regardless of the law, so the council had little choice but to get tough on Network Rail.

“Once again I urge them to start listening to local concerns, reopen the crossing and work with us to find a better solution.”

Cllr Osborne handed in a 1,100 signature petition calling on Network Rail to work with the community over the future of the gates and to reopen the level crossing.

A spokesperson for Network Rail said: “Lewes District Council has obtained an injunction that means Network Rail cannot carry out any work for the removal of the crossing gates, associated equipment or mechanism at Plumpton Level Crossing. Following legal advice we will not be removing the gates this weekend.

“We were grateful for the opportunity to hear the views of local people at the public meeting on Friday and for the petition to be presented to us.

“We have read all 290 specific comments included and were reassured that so many of these believe the priority must be to reopen the road as quickly as possible.

“We are working closely with the local authorities to resolve this situation as quickly and as safely as possible and will be submitting a new planning application soon.”

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