Outrage over new Robertsbridge rail crossing floodlights

Residents protesting over bright lights at Robertsbridge level crossing. SUS-160216-175824001
Residents protesting over bright lights at Robertsbridge level crossing. SUS-160216-175824001

New Robertsbridge rail crossing floodlights have caused outrage among residents who claim they have kept people awake and damaged the nearby pub’s business.

The crossing on Station Road is being upgraded by Network Rail, resulting in new floodlights and a CCTV camera.

The new Robertsbridge floodlights from Maggie Flegg's garden

The new Robertsbridge floodlights from Maggie Flegg's garden

But residents claim they knew nothing about the actual height of the floodlights or the brightness.

Owners of The Ostrich pub, Rosemary and Tony Robins, have cancelled all their bookings for this weekend as the light illuminated their B&B rooms.

Maggie Flegg’s garden is almost directly below the lights .

“It’s caused an awful lot of upset and bad feeling,” she said. “I could have sat out in my garden and read the paper, it was that bright.”

The floodlights at Robertsbridge rail crossing

The floodlights at Robertsbridge rail crossing

Maggie says she was surprised to wake up on Sunday morning (February 14), to a 25ft and 40ft pole at the back of her garden after being told it would just be one 20ft pole.

She is also concerned her garden will suffer as the light could damage her plants which would not get any ‘downtime’.

Network Rail held a meeting with about 10 concerned residents, parish councillor Stephen Hardy and district councillor Sue Prochak to try to resolve the issue on Tuesday (February 16).

The representatives said the lights have been switched off until Sunday when they may be able to add blinkers to mitigate the issue, but could not promise it would work.

Robertsbridge rail crossing is being upgraded by Network Rail

Robertsbridge rail crossing is being upgraded by Network Rail

Mrs Robins said they have struggled to get a response so it was good to discuss the issue but she was still concerned.

“They now must appreciate the problems as they’ve seen so many of us there standing outside in the freezing cold trying to make our point,” she said.

“It’s worrying for our business to say the least, we just have to hope that the remedial steps they take produce an effect that allows us to continue our business.”

The Network Rail representatives claimed the height and brightness of the lights was designed to illuminate the whole of the crossing for the CCTV camera.

If it was any lower, the camera would not be able to see and it would not be safe.

Cllr Prochak said people were angry about the fact Network Rail does not have to get planning permission for schemes like the floodlight and it would have never gone through if it did.

The limited consultation was another sticking point for residents

Network Rail has been contacted for comment.

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