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Raise Thatcham railway concerns in Newbury MP Laura Farris’ survey

Newbury MP Laura Farris is seeking views on waiting times at Thatcham level crossing.

She recently released a survey after meeting with representatives of Network Rail.

The Conservative MP said the level crossing is problematic because of the frequency of trains along the line at certain times and the proximity of Newbury and Thatcham stations.

“For that reason they sometimes need to keep the barrier down for more than one train to come through,” she said.

“And when they raise it they are unable to do so for long enough to allow all the cars to pass, meaning that traffic builds up.”

She added: “I know that this situation has become intolerable for many residents of Thatcham.

“And Network Rail agree that it is one of the busiest barrier crossings out of the 500 they have in the South East, and that it has some of the longest waiting times overall.

“The next step will be developing a business plan with the relevant stakeholders and submitting this to the Department for Transport together with – what I hope they will agree – is a viable funding proposal.”

The survey can be found at https://shorturl.at/qtvJ1

In 2015, Network Rail and West Berkshire Council told Newburytoday that a bridge would cost in excess of £20m and would need to be funded by central Government or by a developer.

Since then, a planning application has come forward, from the Colthrop Village Consortium for 950 homes south of the railway line and Kennet and Avon Canal, including a railway bridge.

The developer has been pushing these plans to be included in the West Berkshire Local Plan for housing in the district.

In 2018, West Berkshire Council said it was “exploring the possibility of a bridge” as a part of its transport plan and in 2021 Network Rail said it supported the 950-home plan if it included the bridge.

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