Newmarket Town Football Club has thrown its weight behind the campaign to save the foot crossing over the town’s rail tracks.
Network Rail has just completed a consultation with residents over its proposal to close the long-used crossing, which is close to the club’s Ridgeon’s Stadium in Cricket Field Road and provides an important town link for pedestrians.
“I personally use this level crossing on a regular basis when I’m at the club and many of our players, supporters and staff also use it to access our stadium on a daily basis,” said club secretary Graham Edwards. “We are very concerned about the effects of the proposed closure on our football club. We are particularly worried that the proposed alternative route along New Cheveley Road is far too long for some of our elderly supporters and much too dangerous for our younger players who come by bicycle - it carries a lot of fast moving motor traffic and it is not suitable for young cyclists who currently are able to use safe and quiet backstreets to come to our stadium.”
Mr Edwards said he felt the dangers of the crossing had been exaggerated by Network Rail. “There has only been one casualty here in the last five years and that sadly was a suicide and not an accident,” he said. It’s far less dangerous to cross this railway line than many of the main roads in Newmarket. There are very few trains using this line compared to thousands of cars driving through the town every day of the week. Pedestrians are far more likely to be injured crossing the road than crossing the railway.
“Nobody would ever seriously suggest fencing off the roads through the town so why on earth should we completely fence off the railway line? It makes no sense whatsoever and it will seriously inconvenience both the football club and the public at large.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said no decision had yet been made over the future of the crossing.