Thursday 16 Dec 2021
Plans submitted in bid to help reduce flooding and protect vital rail link to south west
- Region & Route:
- Wales & Western: Western
Network Rail has submitted a planning application to Mid Devon District Council to reduce the frequency and duration of flooding on the railway at Hele and help prevent a vital link to the South West being cut off.
The £7.2m scheme to replace two road bridges and reprofile the flood plain would mean fewer closures and less disruption for passengers and freight, as well as road users.
The proposals are part of a wider package of work to reduce flooding on the main railway line through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.
The scheme involves:
- Demolishing the current bridge at Station Road, Hele and replacing it with a viaduct, increasing the flow of water through the structure.
- Building a new access bridge to Devon Valley Mill, subject to agreement with the mill owners
If planning consent is granted, work is due to start on site in the spring/summer of 2022. Station Road would need to be closed for approximately eight months while the new structures are built, with a diversion via Bradninch towards Cullompton and along the B3181.
Network Rail is working with the local bus company to make sure a suitable service is maintained and access will be provided through the worksite, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to continue to use the level crossing.
The proposals do not involve any work to the railway itself, so train services would continue to run throughout.
John Newland, Network Rail’s senior sponsor for the project, said: “We are working towards environmentally sustainable travel by providing a more resilient railway on this key part of the national rail network.
“As well as providing more reliable services for passengers and freight as we recover from the pandemic, the scheme will improve Station Road for users and generally cut the frequency and duration of flooding for businesses close to the level crossing in Hele.
“We have been engaging with the community to evaluate options and to review our flood modelling and we would like to thank them for their invaluable input. We are committed to getting this scheme right.
“We appreciate that if the work goes ahead, it will cause disruption for the people of Hele and Bradninch and we’ll do all we can to keep this to a minimum.”
Anyone who wishes to view or comment on the application should do so by visiting the planning section of Mid Devon District Council’s website at middevon.gov.uk.
More information on the proposals is available at networkrail.co.uk/hele
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.