Plumpton level crossing to stay closed till next month

Plumpton level crossing. Source: Network Rail
Plumpton level crossing. Source: Network Rail

Residents of Plumpton will have to wait another month before the road by the level crossing is reopened.

A public meeting was held on Friday (October 16), chaired by Lewes MP Maria Caulfield, after the crossing was closed by Network Rail due to health and safety concerns.

Local residents have said the closure split their village in half.

At the meeting, Network Rail announced plans to remove the level crossing gates and reopen the road by mid-November.

The crossing has been closed since September 25 and since then more than 600 people have signed a petition to get the crossing reopened, with many having to take a detour of up to seven miles to get to the other side of the village.

The Pluumpton barrier has listed status.

Following reviews with experts and Lewes District Council this week, Network Rail said the quickest and safest way to reopen the crossing was to install a full-width barrier crossing with automatic object detection equipment.

This will begin immediately with the intention to open the road within five weeks, it added.

Network Rail intends to remove the listed gates to the crossing over the weekend of October 24 and 25.

It added they will be ‘stored safely’ until a long-term solution for the crossing has been determined with full consent from Lewes District Council.

Network Rail will also be appealing against Lewes District Council’s decision to refuse planning permission to replace the gates with a more modern solution.

It added it will be submitting a new application for listed buildings consent.

“We will work with the parish, district and county councils to address a number of issues raised in the meeting, including signage and measures to help people with personal mobility issues,” a spokesman said.

Alasdair Coates, Network Rail route managing director for the South East, said: “It’s clear many people will be disappointed by this decision but the community were clear that the priority for them is to reopen the road as quickly and safely as possible.

“The solution announced this evening is the only option that will allow us to do that.

“The Plumpton level crossing gates will be carefully removed and stored while the appeal and new application for listed buildings consent is pursued.”