Phase 3 (under-track crossing)
All is looking good for the under-track crossing to be completed in early May.
Network Rail’s contractors are booked in to carry out the rail possession over the weekend of 1–3 May, which means that no trains will run over that weekend, with a bus replacement service in place.
From approximately midnight on Friday 1 May, there will be a 48-hour non-stop period of activity and noise on the site. This will have an impact on people living nearby, but given the nature of the works, this cannot really be avoided.
Network Rail is expected to be on site from early April, but only working normal working hours going forward (including Saturdays). There will be considerable activity around the Green Lane entrance to the site and it might be wise to find an alternative route to avoid delays in car journey times.
It is anticipated that the culvert under the railway line will be installed, then once the possession is over and the track is open again as normal, Network Rail will continue to work on the manholes at either end of the crossing (but during normal work hours).
Part of the works will include changing the gate entrance to the site.
Phase 4, the remainder of the scheme
The funding for phase 4 is not currently guaranteed, so East Devon District Council will be looking for assistance from the Parish Council and local residents. We need to put as much political pressure on our MPs as possible to ensure the funding is granted.
The Government will soon announce some revised funding rules which it is hoped will make it easier for projects to claim additional monies and we need to make sure that Feniton’s scheme is at the front of the queue.
To underpin the grant application, we need to collect a reasonable number of letters from residents/parish councillors/flood wardens to demonstrate the stress, worry and anxiety caused every time it rains, as well as how much effort is put into trying to reduce flooding via the volunteer flood warden scheme.
We also need to justify the mental anguish caused by actual flooding, as well as being put at risk of flooding, as a further grant allowance is available for impacts on mental health. Many will find it difficult to write this sort of letter, but it would help the cause immeasurably if some residents are able to do this.
The flood scheme was discussed at Feniton Parish Council meeting on Monday 9 March and the parish clerk, Alison Marshall, has kindly agreed to receive lobbying emails from residents and will collate them into a batch of submissions for grant funding. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, letters can be dropped off at my house (Jubilee House on Ottery Road) and I will scan them and forward to Alison.
Getting grant funding for phase 4 is absolutely crucial to enable completion of the scheme. East Devon District Council’s Cabinet agreement to move forward with phase 3 demonstrates the Council’s determination to help the people of Feniton … it’s now up to us to lobby as hard as we can for the funding for phase 4.