Ashington drop-in event planned for level crossing options

Residents are being asked to attend the drop-in session to discuss future plans about the closure of a level crossing.

A drop-in event is to be held in Ashington to discuss options for the closure of a level crossing on the Northumberland Line rail route.

The drop-in is set to take place on Tuesday 17 May at YMCA Northumberland, North View between 2pm and 7:30pm.

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Ongoing consultation for options over the closure of the Hospital Level Crossing in the town is set to be held by the council so local residents and businesses can hear about the options and speak to the project team.

Plans for faster and frequent trains by the end of 2023 mean the crossing will be considered unsafe for public use and will need to be closed permanently.

There have been ongoing consultations on proposals for replacing it with an underpass since late 2020.

A planning application has also been submitted but received a number of objections, and due to the extent of the complaints, the council are now reviewing other options. These include closure with no replacement or a footbridge near the current crossing point.

Residents have been asked to weigh in on the solutions to the level crossing, which is set to be closed by the end of next year

Councillor Wojciech Ploszaj, Cabinet Member for Business said: “There’s been a good amount of feedback to the online consultation which we’re very grateful for and we’ll be studying this in detail.

“We’d also encourage anyone who lives or works locally who has an interest in the scheme to come along to our informal drop-in session and speak to the team and give us their views.

“It’s critical we find the best solution to this crossing issue as we look ahead to starting construction works this summer.”

Kieran Dunkin, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail said: “Restoring a regular passenger service along the Northumberland Line will mean more trains travelling at faster speeds than people in the area are used to.

“We’re here to help balance the needs of rail passengers and the community but safety has to come first, and this means looking at the options for permanently closing Hospital Level Crossing.

“I’d encourage the public to share their views through the consultation, so that we can find a solution that works best for everybody.”