Conservatives on Brighton & Hove City Council have welcomed developments which bring a 2nd Brighton to London rail mainline, via Lewes and Uckfield, a step closer.
Following public consultation, East Sussex County Council has withdrawn a plan to build a new road across the former station site in the centre of Uckfield. This is a key strategic piece of land if either the Brighton Main Line 2 scheme or the much cheaper Lewes to Uckfield link are to become a reality and Network Rail has recently recognised this by asking for ownership of the land “for operational reasons and to safeguard future rail capacity needs”. Wealden MP Charles Hendry has asked Rail Minister – Simon Burns MP – to receive a council delegation supporting transference of the land to Network Rail. The Lewes to Uckfield line closed in 1969 but in recent years, demand for rail travel between the south coast, the growing towns of Sussex and London has soared.
Conservative Group Leader – Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald – said: “I have been campaigning for this vital missing link in the region’s rail network to be restored for many years now as residents of the growing towns of Uckfield and Crowborough would then be able to travel to Brighton & Hove, to work or visit, by train rather adding more traffic to our congested roads. It would also take pressure off the A270 Lewes Road coming into Brighton and would give an extra option for supporters coming to Brighton & Hove Albion’s home games at Falmer. This decision by East Sussex County Council is, therefore, an important and welcome step.”
Conservative Group Transport Spokesman – Cllr. Graham Cox – added: “A new main line link toLondon would provide a massive boost to the local economy and would make life much more pleasant for our many commuters, who currently suffer from unacceptable levels of overcrowding. The fragility of the current system is regularly exposed when there is a train breakdown, signal failure or engineering works on the section of line between Three Bridges and Brighton. The investment required to build this new link, or to reopen the Lewes to Uckfield line, would in my view, be money well spent.”
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For further information please contact Cllr. Theobald on 07753636203 and Cllr. Cox on 07702180998 or see the Brighton Mainline 2 campaign website – http://www.bml2.co.uk/