A walking charity is set to challenge the “unacceptable” closures of a series of level crossings which it fears would put ramblers in danger.

The Ramblers, the country’s most prominent walkers’ rights organisation, has announced it will oppose 33 of Network Rail’s proposed closures, out of a total list of 60 across Essex.

Amongst the 11 in North Essex which being opposed are the Paget and Wivenhoe Park crossings in Wivenhoe and two crossings in Great Bentley.

Volunteers will also fight the closure of Gold Square Crossing, which is between Mount Bures and Wakes Colne, the facility at Thornfield Wood, in Wakes Colne, and Abbotts Crossing in Ardleigh.

The walking group also want Snivellers Crossing, Kelvedon, and one nearby in Barbara Close, Feering, to remain open for the public.

Tompion Platt, Ramblers’ director of advocacy and engagement, said: “Some of these proposals are fair and provide convenient diversions to bridges and other crossing points.

“However, the alternative routes provided for half the proposed closures are unacceptable, with the worst diversions taking walkers on to roads without pavements.

“Another of our key concerns is the proposal to push these diversions through en masse, which makes it difficult for organisations like the Ramblers to voice their concerns comprehensively.”

Network rail drew up a shortlist of more than 100 potential closures across East Anglia in summer 2016.

A consultation into the plans opened the follow year, with the Ramblers helping get 22 spots removed from the list.

However the inquiry has now reopened to discuss another 60 proposed changes.

Mr Platt added: “Taking away the tranquillity of an off-road rural walk and replacing it with traffic noise and fumes is bad enough, but being forced onto a main road on a diversion and passing vehicles going at 50 or 60 miles an hour is frightening.

“In an age where the Government recognises the value of encouraging walking because of its benefits for health, the environment, and the economy, it is right that we oppose these proposals that adversely alter walking routes.”

In a poll, the results of which were released last year, 85 per cent of those surveyed did not want the Paget Road Crossing closed. Councillor Cyril Liddy has led a campaign to save the crossing.

A Network Rail spokesperson said the operator was putting its case forward at the inquiry but could not say more at this time.

The public inquiry will be at the Holiday Inn Hotel, in Eight Ash Green, from October 23 to 26.

Visit https://bit.ly/2yhRIe8.

These are the crossing closures Ramblers will oppose in our area:

  • Potters Crossing, inRivenhall
  • Snivellers Crossing, in Kelvedon
  • Barbara Close Crossing, in Feering
  • Cranes No One, in Cressing
  • White Notley and Cressing
  • Paget Crossing, in Wivenhoe
  • High Elm Crossing, in Alresford
  • Great Bentley Station Crossing, in Great Bentley
  • Lord’s No One Crossing, in Great Bentley
  • Thornfield Wood Crossing, in Wakes Colne
  • Golden Square Crossing, in Mount Bures and Wakes Colne
  • Bures Level Crossing
  • Ardleigh Abotts Crossing
  • Wivenhoe Park Crossing