Ufford PUNCH March 2019

Page 4, Ufford PUNCH, March 2019 Adam Thomas and David Findley on how Sizewell C plans would impact Ufford The Great Train Crossing Robbery In the national news there has been much debate recently about the future of nuclear power. Several schemes, such as Anglesey and Cumbria, have fallen by the wayside, but one proposal in Suffolk for a new nuclear power station at Sizewell C is very much ac- tive and has entered the Stage 3 Con- sultation process. Aside from the debate about the role, cost and environmental impact for nuclear power stations, one of the hot- test topics is EDF’s decision to aban- don the sea-led supply strategy for the construction phase of Sizewell C. The consequent impact in Suffolk of using only road and rail will see an increase in road traffic and in use of the local single-track rail network. Most local people and Councillors agree that tak- ing the sea-led approach off the table should be resisted to safeguard Suf- folk’s road/rail infrastructure. Much closer to home for Ufford, there is a specific proposal buried in the 450 page Consultation document on Page 275, which has a major local impact. In this, EDF are proposing to close or divert the existing footpath between Ufford and Bromeswell and to take away the pedestrian rail cross- ing. Ours is one of 12 pedestrian rail crossings marked for closure. This footpath - Ufford 12 and Bromeswell 5A - starts by the bridge and Ufford Hole, runs through the water meadows and crosses the Deben and the railway line before continuing on to Summer Lane in Bromeswell. It is used by local residents, people from Bromeswell, Melton and Woodbridge and makes up a delightful circular walk crossing over Wilford Bridge and back across the fields towards Lower Road. In summer, these meadows and the river are a popular picnicking spot and children often fish and swim in the Deben. The majority of the EDF op- tions would also deny access to the meadows and to the riverside walk. Although EDF claim that usage is fewer than 20 pedestrians per day, we know that this path is used much more especially in the summer months. Dogged Attempt listen to their master’s voice They are planning a small increase in the number of trains and their speed and argue that the existing crossing is little used, unsafe and not economical to up- grade to an alarmed version, all of which we doubt. EDF are conducting a public consulta- tion on all their Sizewell C proposals and the deadline for responses is Friday 29th March. So what are EDF Planning to do? There are 5 proposed Options for the rerouting and replacement of the foot- path. These are:- Options 1, 4 and 5 - three slightly differ- ent proposals would reroute the footpath starting at the Eyke side of the Bridge Road vehicle level crossing and running through the field alongside the line to connect with the existing path from Bromeswell. These options would in- volve walking along the Bridge Road from Ufford to the crossing before fol- lowing the railway track. This creates an increased risk to walkers from the vol- ume of traffic and large tractors passing along the road and an unattractive walk alongside the line. Options 1 and 4 would see an end to access to the river- side walk and the water meadows. Option 2 - this involves rerouting walk- ers south from the existing pedestrian crossing for about 400 metres alongside the Deben to a railway bridge which crosses the Deben lower down. After going under the bridge, the path would double back through the willow planta- tion to re-join the other side of the cur- rent crossing. This plan is impractical as it would involve crossing the Deben watercourse at least twice and going under a bridge which would often be flooded at high tides. It seems clear that EDF and their plans have not taken ac- count of the local geography and water flows. Option 3 - this is the most radical of the proposals and would cut the entire foot- p a t h b e t w e e n U f f o r d a n d - Bromeswell. As supposed compensa- tion, two new bits of footpath are creat- ed: on the Ufford side, the footpath from the water meadows is extended to join t h e r oa d n e a r Ol d Me l t on Church. Here again the plan is ill con- ceived as it would involve new pedestri- an footbridges over the Deben.. On the Bromeswell side, the path would be ex- tended southwards alongside the river down to the railway bridge at which point it would cross the Deben and con- nect with an existing footpath which runs up from Wilford Bridge. The crossing: David Findley