Manningtree crossing: action demanded from Transport Secretary

Tendring is seeking improvements to Manningtree level crossing. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Tendring is seeking improvements to Manningtree level crossing. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Improvements must be made to a vital rail crossing on the Suffolk/Essex border if the area is to be able to grow as needed, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is to be told.

The leader of Tendring council, Neil Stock, is to write to the Secretary of State for Transport to raise concerns over a vital railway crossing at Manningtree.

Lobbying for improvements to the crossing, where the A137 meets the Norwich-London mainline, was adopted as a corporate priority by Tendring earlier this year.

Currently motorists can face long delays when the level crossing is closed, as it is frequently due to the busy railway line, with an alternative height and width-restricted underpass not able to cope with demand.

The road is busy not only with local traffic, but also provides a key link between Essex and Suffolk and is a diversionary route if there are closures on the A12 between Colchester and Ipswich.

Despite organising meetings with representatives from Network Rail, Greater Anglia, Essex County Council, local MPs and other stakeholders, Mr Stock told a meeting of Tendring’s Cabinet that progress had been too slow.

As a result he said he would be writing to the transport department to request that he looks at the issue.

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He said: “Before I send off the letter I will be speaking to our officers to see what specific asks I can make of the Secretary of State, as we need action and not just bland support from Government on this.

“We have made strenuous efforts in an effort to get some short-term improvements made now whilst working towards a longer-term solution that will solve the problem once and for all.

“But even getting a simple traffic light system installed to control the traffic flow under the rail line has so far failed to materialise and I find that failure of action to be totally unacceptable.

“I propose therefore to write to the Transport Secretary and ask him personally to look at this issue as a matter of urgency. I shall also set up a meeting to which I shall invite the chief executives of Network Rail and Greater Anglia, the leaders of Essex and Suffolk county councils, the MPs for that area as well as other key stakeholders to attempt to thrash out a solution.”

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