THE Government is being urged to help transform a level crossing in Grays...and in turn, unlock the town centre's potential.

Plans are currently being developed to revamp the south end of Grays High Street - with an underpass to replace the level crossing at Grays rail station central to the vision.

Polly Billington, Labour's MP candidate for the election next year, has written to the Government highlighting the importance of the crossing and urging them to stump up funding.

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership has bid for £16.4million of funding for the project while the private sector could contribute £5million. The overall cost of the project is around £21.5million over five years.

Ms Billington said: "Grays’ level crossing is one of the two worst level crossings, in terms of incidents, within the Network Rail Eastern Region.

"The crossings are bad for residents and for business. Right now ministers have the chance to give Grays Town centre a real boost by awarding support so we can get started solving at least one of our level crossing problems.

"We have a plan for a new underpass, that would be safe, good for pushchairs and wheelchairs, well-lit, and respects the character of the area. The current footbridge is none of these things.

"With the new South Essex College building opening in September, there is all the more need to get the level crossing sorted.

"Most places would take a safe, smart, pleasant way to get around the town centre for granted. We have to fight for that here. We need to make sure ministers listen and act to improve our town centre."