Hundreds of people in Eastbourne are backing a petition calling on local authorities to take action on traffic issues at Hampden Park level crossing.
In a joint petition – to Eastbourne Borough Council, East Sussex County Council, Network Rail and the Department for Transport – residents call for something to be done to reduce the traffic problems at the partly-automated level crossing, which connects Brassey Avenue and Mountfield Road.
Residents also raise concerns over the safety of the crossing – which is one of the busiest in Europe – and its affect on businesses in the area as well as the increased traffic the new Aldi store will likely bring to the area.
The petition, which was set up by Hampden Park resident Dave Poole on Wednesday (December 9) has gained more than 750 signatures.
In the petition, Mr Poole said, “We demand that the named authorities start working on this problem immediately, no matter what the expense, to come up with a practical solution with the minimum of disruption.
“We have waited far too long, the problem isn’t going to go away and it can no longer be ignored by those who are in a position to take action to solve the problem.”
Petitioners ask the council consider creating an alternative route over the railway line or make other changes to the surrounding roads to significantly reduce congestion in the area.
An East Sussex County Council spokesman said, “We are aware of the concerns which have been raised regarding the level crossing and we raised these issues with Network Rail.
“They have informed us that the change to an automated crossing should not affect the way the barrier operates, and that if there is any increase in the time the barrier is down, this is due to more trains running on the line.
“As with any level crossing, particularly one on a very busy line such as this, there will inevitably be some disruption to traffic.
“However Network Rail have offered to meet with us and with local councillors at the site to observe the issues and to see if anything can be done to improve the situation.”
Network Rail say the crossing is one of the busiest in Europe with as many as 20 trains passing through each hour during busy periods.
A spokesman for Network Rail said, “The level crossing at Hampden Park is only partly automatic and remains monitored via CCTV and under the control of a signaller.
“The signaller can raise the barriers should someone miss the lights and the warning horns and end up on the wrong side of the barriers.
“The crossing is busy with a frequent train service, which means the barriers are naturally down for some time and we do our best to minimise this. However, safety is our priority and we have to protect rail and road traffic.”
The petition can be found here.
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