A COUNCIL boss has backed a number of level crossings being closed...as long as alternative routes are put in place.

Colchester Council leader David King reacted to news Network Rail will either close or modify nine crossings at stations in north Essex.

The works, which were approved by Secretary of State Grant Shapps, will be carried out in Stanway, Feering, Marks Tey, Great Bentley, Frinton, Wrabness and Ardleigh.

These include Snivillers, Hill House 1, Great Domsey, Long Green, Church 2, Great Bentley station, Lords No1, Bluehouse Wheatsheaf and Abbotts.

READ MORE: Colchester and Tendring rail crossings to be closed

Mr King has now said he supports the idea of level crossings being removed, but only if sufficient alternatives are put in place.

He said: "Level crossings sadly have not always been safe, so action, however slow, is to be welcomed where it helps reduce the risk of accident and loss of life. 

"But we need Network Rail to explain and defend and to make sure that each decision is balanced against the inconvenience and disruption caused. And that reasonable alternative routes are available."

The forthcoming closures come five years after Network Rail first submitted the plans to Downing Street in a move which did not go down well with residents.