A public consultation is getting underway on options for the closure of a level crossing on the Northumberland Line rail route.
Once opened by winter 2023, the introduction of faster and more frequent trains on the existing freight railway line will make Hospital Level Crossing in Ashington unsafe for continued public use and it will need to be closed permanently.
From late 2020 there has been consultation on proposals for replacing this crossing with an underpass.
A planning application was also submitted, which received a significant number of objections and due the extent and nature of these objections, the council is now reviewing other options available.
These include closure with no replacement or a footbridge near the current crossing point.
People can find out more about the proposals by visiting the consultation webpage at nland.cc/HXL until May 31.
The council will also be hosting a drop in event for local residents and businesses to learn more about the options and speak to the project team.
This will take place on Tuesday 17 May at YMCA Northumberland, North View, Ashington, NE63 9XQ, between 2pm and 7:30pm.
Councillor Wojciech Ploszaj, Cabinet Member for Business said: “We’re making great progress behind the scenes on this project and are looking forward to starting construction works this summer.
“Before that it’s vital we get everything right and we want to find a solution to this level crossing issue which works for both the wider project and local people.
“I’d really urge residents to get involved and have their say as we know it’s already generated a lot of feeling locally.
“All feedback from the consultation will be used to review the options and determine a way forward for Hospital Level Crossing.”
Kieran Dunkin, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail said: “Restoring a regular passenger service along the Northumberland Line will mean more trains travelling at faster speeds than people in the area are used to.
“We’re here to help balance the needs of rail passengers and the community but safety has to come first, and this means looking at the options for permanently closing Hospital Level Crossing.
“I’d encourage the public to share their views through the consultation, so that we can find a solution that works best for everybody.”