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Network Rail has agreed to turn the volume down on the level crossing alarm at Ash Road, Sandwich.

By Emily Stott

Network Rail has agreed to turn the volume down on a level crossing alarm in Sandwich but campaigners say it may still breach regulations.

The company will be undertaking tests on the “painfully loud” sounder alarm on Ash Road to see if the noise can be reduced.

Residents of Ash Road area say level crossing alarm is too loud

Residents who say they have been suffering with the loud noise since it was fitted in January have welcomed the news.

Chris Denham, a spokesman for Network Rail said: “We are going to visit the crossing later this week to run tests. This will help us to find a volume that is safe, while also hopefully providing less of a problem for our neighbours.

“We realise this has taken some time to set up and we appreciate people’s patience. Safety has to be our priority.”

MP Laura Sandys with residents of Ash Road who are unhappy with level crossing alarm.

The Mercury reported last week that Ash Road residents Tony Auffret and Mike Matthews compiled a report which states Network Rail has broken its own rules.

They say it’s not just an issue with the volume – according to Network Rail’s Certificate of Acceptance the sounder is for crossings with a high pedestrian frequency and Mr Auffret and Mr Matthews claim Ash Road has a low pedestrian rate.

Mr Auffret added: "The interesting thing is if we’re right about the certificate of acceptance, even if they reset the alarm they can’t use that alarm at that crossing.

“One suspects if we’re right they will try and keep us happy to keep us quiet.”

Mr Auffret explained that he will be contacting Dover District Council’s environmental protection team.

“I’m going to contact Brian Gibson at environmental protection who can agree on the levels. It’s an independent presence so at least it would be fair."

On hearing about the testing due to take place this week, Mr Auffret added: “It’s good news, it’s just a pity they haven’t learnt any lessons, they could generate goodwill if they would tell residents what they’re doing.

“But at least they’re taking notice now.”

The sounder was installed earlier this year as the Ash Road crossing has a half barrier rather than a full barrier.

However, residents believe that due to the low pedestrian frequency of the crossing, this alarm breaches regulations and that this may be the case at crossings across the country.

Mr Auffret added: “They’ve got a problem nationally, it’s not just a local issue.”

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