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Network Rails opens consultation on five-month road closure

By Blackmore Vale Magazine  |  Posted: September 21, 2012

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PEOPLE affected by the five-month closure of the A371 between Castle Cary and Ansford are being invited to suggest ways to reduce disruption.

Network Rail is consulting the local community after admitting that it failed to give adequate notice of the closure for works on Ansford Bridge, close to Castle Cary Station.

The works, which will cut off businesses from neighbouring towns, and see people making a 17-mile detour to use their local train station, were due to start earlier this month.

But the closure was postponed after Network Rail representatives faced furious local residents and traders at a meeting in the Brook House inn just days before the proposed start date.

Network Rail has written to more than 500 householders in and around Ansford, giving further details of the closure, which is now due to run from Monday 7th January until Friday 31st May.

Robin Basu, Network Rail's western area community relations manager, said in the letter: "We acknowledge that we did not liaise with the community in a timely or adequate manner and we apologise for this.

"Our next steps will be to give an opportunity for people to share their concerns and also to provide suggestions on how the impact of the road closure can be minimised."

Network Rail has set up an email account for people to send their concerns and suggestions until Sunday 7th October. The information will then be collated for discussions with community representatives next month, when it is hoped that mitigation measures will be agreed.

According to Network Rail, all suggestions will be considered but the duration of the closure will not be reduced.

Janette Cronie, chairman of Ansford Parish Council, said: "Network Rail acknowledges its mistake and is doing its best to resolve it.

"The works have to be done, and we understand that, but we have to make sure that proper measures are put in place."

Consultation responses should be sent to Network Rail at ansfordoverbridge@networkrail.co.uk

Mathew Manning

mmanning@bvmedia.co.uk

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