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Greater Anglia forced to put multimillion-pound depot plans on hold

Greater Anglia has been forced to look at “alternative options” for its planned depot in Brantham, Suffolk, due to problems with access and the frequency of trains on a nearby level crossing.

The multimillion-pound facility was set to be built close to Manningtree station, but regulations concerning the volume of traffic that can travel through the area, along with access issues to the site have contributed to serious complications.

Work had already begun at the site, with demolition and initial groundwork underway at the former chemical plant, but this has now ground to a halt as Greater Anglia looks to resolve its issues.

A spokesperson for the operator explained: “There are a number of issues to be resolved in order to progress with our proposed new depot at Brantham. These include preparation of the site, train access to the site and the fact that we have yet to agree commercial terms with the landowner involved.

“A potential further complication relates to the impact of additional train movements on the level crossing at Manningtree and we have been working with Network Rail about this.”

There are currently only a limited number of times that the level crossing is allowed to close its gates, but the increase in rail traffic caused by the depot would mean increasing that number, which is not currently permitted because of the traffic flow issues it would cause.

Greater Anglia also has to come to a deal with the landowner on commercial terms for the site and finish certain preparation works, meaning work will have to be paused while these issues are dealt with.

The operator says it will be “looking at alternative options” for the maintenance and cleaning work that is currently scheduled to take place at Brantham, in case solutions cannot be found within the three-month expected timescale.

Greater Anglia unveiled plans for the depot last February, in the hope that the facility would help improve the quality of services and provide at least 30 new jobs.

It was initially projected to include 13 outdoor tracks with a further two sections inside a 300-metre building, meant to be used for repairs and maintenance.

Top image: Greater Anglia

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