United front to save town's iconic gates

CAMPAIGNERS in an upmarket Essex resort have launched a united front to fight plans by rail bosses to replace their iconic town gates.Many Frinton residents want the gates at the town's level crossing to stay as they are, but Network Rail wants to install a hi-tech replacement.

CAMPAIGNERS in an upmarket Essex resort have launched a united front to fight plans by rail bosses to replace their iconic town gates.

Many Frinton residents want the gates at the town's level crossing to stay as they are, but Network Rail wants to install a hi-tech replacement.

The company, which controls the rail infrastructure across the country, is spending more than £100million on upgrades to the signal network, and wants to replace the famous hand-operated wooden gates with new electronically controlled ones at the same time.

Members of residents associations from Frinton, Walton, Kirby Cross and Kirby Le Soken are now all unified in their opposition to the plans and have now formed the Frinton Gates Preservation Society.


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David Foster, chairman of the society, has said its sole objective is to safeguard the famous entrance - regarded locally as an important symbol of the genteel resort.

He said: “We're looking to protect our gates and the buildings, like the signal box, that are part of them.

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“There will be a lot of sabre-rattling in between now and then - we need facts and figures, and we will get them.”

He claimed there was not a single person in the town that he had spoken to who felt the change would be of benefit.

He added: “If you hold something dear, then you have to stand up and fight for it. We're saying that it can be done differently.”

Network Rail has come under fire during meetings with residents to discuss the proposals, but it says the new system would see a safe, modern crossing, controlled remotely from Colchester's signal box through the use of CCTV and communication technology.

However, local people still have questions about the possibility of human error, especially in times of bad weather.

Anyone wishing to back the campaign can make a donation at the Saffron Building Society on the town's Connaught Avenue.

Mr Foster has also appealed for anyone with information about problems relating to other crossing gates across the country to e-mail him at frintoninbloom@yahoo.co.uk.

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