Railfuture's "Bridge the gap" campaign to re-open the rail link between Lewes and Uckfield attracted widespread support in a well-attended event in Lewes Town Hall on Saturday. Lewes Town Council are developing a Neighbourhood Plan and held a Town Hall Open Day for residents to contribute their ideas to shape the future of "Lewes for all".
Transport is one of the Plan's topics, and restoration of the missing rail link north through Uckfield, Crowborough and Edenbridge to London, and even via Eridge to Tunbridge Wells, is seen by many residents and local businesses as vital for the town's continued prosperity, and sustainability given ever-worsening road congestion. In order to make a business case however, another link enabling through trains via Lewes between Brighton, Uckfield and beyond will be necessary.
Railfuture explained their preferred option of a new 'Lewes loop'. It would run east from the Kingston Road bridge, alongside the A27 and Cockshut watercourse, round the leisure centre and Sussex Downs College and into Lewes station. Open Day visitors to Railfuture's stall overwhelmingly supported this proposal, despite some engineering and environmental challenges to be overcome.
Railfuture's Roger Blake, a national Director and Vice-Chair of the London & South East regional branch, said "We came away very encouraged by the strength of support for our approach. We will continue to work with the Town Council, and Lewes residents and businesses, to support their efforts to realise this ambition of a re-instated Brighton-Lewes-Weald-London rail link." Brighton-based Railfuture member Adrian Figgess added "We shall also be supporting them in urging Network Rail to include the link in their new Sussex Route Study. Public consultation on the Study is due early this autumn. It will form the basis for investment in rail infrastructure from 2019-24, our target period to achieve the popular and long-awaited re-opening, so it is vital that everyone adds their voice."
Note for editors:
Contact: roger.blake at railfuture.org.uk tel.07538492501