Normans Bay level crossing plan 'will lead to rat run'

Normans Bay level crossing Network Rail wants to modernise the level crossing at Normans Bay as part of a resignalling project

Proposals to modernise a manned level crossing in East Sussex will cause chaos and create a rat run through a village, according to residents.

Network Rail wants to install lifting barriers at the Havensmouth crossing in Normans Bay, to be controlled and monitored by CCTV from Three Bridges.

It said it would reduce the potential for safety risks occurring through misuse and would also be more reliable.

Villagers fear more motorists will use the single-track road as a result.

Robert Chase, of the Normans Bay Residents Association, said only about 200 people lived in the village and Coast Road, which was a private road and originally "just a cart track", was not suitable for heavy traffic, and had no pavements, lighting or road signs.

'Impossible logjam'

The level crossing is currently manned between 07:00 and 22:00, seven days a week, with the gates remaining shut overnight.

During the day the crossing could be closed for up to 20 minutes at a time, meaning motorists tended not to use the road, Mr Chase said.

However, residents fear changes to how it is operated will lead to more drivers using it as a short-cut to travel between Pevensey and Bexhill, causing traffic jams and risking vehicles becoming stuck on the level crossing at peak times.

Mr Chase said: "The traffic is controlled by those people manning the signals, but it could become an impossible logjam very quickly."

The campaigners have the backing of local Conservative MP Greg Barker, who last week held a meeting with Network Rail and representatives of the residents' association.

Network Rail said the crossing was being modernised as part of a wider resignalling project which would improve "the reliability of the railway and safety at level crossings".

A spokesman said: "We will continue to discuss our proposals with residents and interested parties and explore with them different ways of managing the impact of traffic."

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