Footpath issue could sway rail objector

ONE of the main objectors to the £46.6 million project to dual part of the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line is today set to drop its opposition - if public footpaths can be saved.

ONE of the main objectors to the £46.6 million project to dual part of the Felixstowe-Ipswich rail line is today set to drop its opposition - if public footpaths can be saved.

Suffolk Coastal is still against the proposed permanent closure of rights of way, and believes bridges or underpasses should be built to ensure walkers and riders can still reach the countryside.

If port chiefs will help overcome these problems, the council would withdraw its objection.

However, so far there have been 28 objections to the project to dual four-and-a-half miles of track, and it is almost certain a public inquiry will be held this summer.


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In a report to councillors, head of planning services Philip Ridley said footpaths should be kept open unless there were good safety reasons for closing them.

The most controversial of these was removal of the Gun Lane crossing.

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Mr Ridley said: “This is required because trains stopped at a signal would be within 15 metres of the crossing. There are serious safety concerns associated with this, particularly in terms of one train hiding another.

“The applicants have proposed a diversion via a foot crossing about 230 metres to the north that would be upgraded so that horseriders (horse and carriage) could use it.”

However, the council's countryside and open space manager would like to see the option of footbridges or underpasses investigated.

Mr Ridley said: “It is understood that the applicants are considering the various objections to the scheme and revised proposals may be forthcoming.”

The council - which will not decide until March 23 whether to continue with its objection - also wants assurance that all trees and vegetation removed to allow the dualling will be replaced.

It also wants one of the site compounds moved so it is not so close to the Reeve Lodge sheltered complex for the elderly.

WEBLINKS: www.portoffelixstowe.co.uk

www.suffolkcoastal,gov.uk

Will the dualling project affect your life? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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