Update on Network Rail.
As you will be aware the public Inquiry, which the Ramblers fought to get, against the closure of rail crossing in Essex, opens on Wednesday 18th October. It will be held at the Civic Centre in Chelmsford and will start at 1000 hours and finish at 1700 hours on Wednesday and Thursday, and 0930 hours to 1630 on Friday each week. There will be no sittings on 1st, 16th and 17th November. The Inquiry is programmed to run for 20 days but with the level of witnesses asking to speak this may be under estimated. The Inquiry will also hold meetings away from Chelmsford at a number of venues which are central to the groups of crossing at issue. When the location and the dates are known, they will be circulated and put on the Area Website.
Gordon Bird, Jeff Coe, Mags Hobby, Katherine and Paul Evans, David Naylor, David Glass from Hertfordshire and myself, with help from Joan Bullivent and Geoff Forward, have put together the Proofs of Evidence for each crossing we are objecting to, as required by the Inquiry. There are 36 of these and the work, involving not only why we object together with photos, but also having to make a case against NWR's attempt to dismiss our objections.
The work has been co-ordinated at Centre Office by Eugene Suggett. The Ramblers are employing a barrister Merrow Golding, plus John Russell, Road Safety Consultant and Des de Moor, Expect Witness on the Value of Walking.
The Footpath Secretaries have not only work hard over a very short timescale, but put in a hugh amount of time, visiting, photographing and finding information about each crossing. It has been a hugh task and they all should be congratulated on their efforts and commitment.
All the Footpath Secretaries who have drawn up Proof of Evidence, will act as witnesses at the Inquiry and with be cross examined by the Inspector and NWR Barrister.
The Redbridge Group have stated they will be at the Inquiry every week and for that we are very grateful. It is hoped other Groups will be able to support the Footpath Secretaries as well in what will be a stressful situation.
Essex Area has been fighting these NWR closures since May 2016 with hugh support from the members. For this final hurdle we ask for your continuing support, and to join us in looking NWR right in the face at the Inquiry.
Alan Goffee Essex Area Chair.