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Campaign group hopes to help save Halesworth crossing

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 April 2016

Campaigners against the closure of the crossing at Halesworth Rail Station.

PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Campaigners against the closure of the crossing at Halesworth Rail Station. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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A campaign group has been set up to unite people opposed to plans to close a well-used crossing.

Network Rail proposed closing the platform barrow crossing in Halesworth, citing safety concerns.

The plans were met with fierce opposition by groups across the town, as well as Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey.

And following a public meeting attended by 260 people in February, Stuart and Mary Gagg set up the Save Our Crossing Halesworth group.

Mrs Gagg said: “I just got in touch with people who had spoken at the meeting.

“And everyone I’ve spoken to and everyone in Halesworth seems terribly upset.

“I thought we should get together and see if we could co-ordinate.”

And the group has the support of the East Suffolk Travellers Association.

Its vice chairman Peter Coghill said: “Groups like this help the cause - the more the merrier!”

In particular, he backed the group’s concerns over the safety of the route Network Rail has designated as an alternative to the crossing.

“It’s a question of when, not if, someone gets mugged,” he said.

The group has been writing individually to Network Rail, liaising with other interested parties, sharing information about Network Rail’s plans and trying to organise meetings with the operator.

“It’s just crazy,” said Mrs Gagg. “We’ve been using the crossing for years without a problem.”

Mr Gagg said he hoped Network Rail would consider alternative safety options before closing the crossing.

“They’ve never had a sign here saying ‘cyclists dismount’,” he said.

“If it’s so important people don’t cycle across the crossing, they should at least put up a sign.”

Zoe Wadey walks with crutches, and said the alternative route avoiding the barrow crossing is difficult for her to use.

“It takes an extra 15 minutes,” she said. “The paths are very steep, dark and unpredictable.

“My wife is partially sighted, and it’s not safe for her to come down there.”

As part of plans to apply to make the crossing a public right of way, the group encourages people who have used the crossing for a number of years to fill out a form available from the town council and record a historic use of the crossing as a public footpath.

To find out more about Save Our Crossing Halesworth, visit www.halesworthtowncouncil.org.uk.

You can post your views by writing to Network Rail, 1 Eversholt Street, London, NW1 2DN.

What do you think of Network Rail’s proposal to permanently close the platform crossing in Halesworth? Write, giving your full contact details, to Beccles and Bungay Journal Letters, 20 Blyburgate, Beccles, NR34 9TB.

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