Plans for BML2 - the proposed extension of the Uckfield to London rail link - were boosted this week after robust backing from Brighton councillors.
Geoffrey Theobald, Leader of Brighton and Hove City Council stated that a second Brighton to London rail mainline should be the centrepiece to its devolution. He said: “We would be knocking on an open door, or at the very least, one that has not been bolted shut, by calling for new rail links.”
The Greater Brighton Economic Board, composed of leaders and members of Brighton and Hove City Council and nearby authorities, recently submitted a bid for more powers to be devolved to the local area. Recently Chancellor George Osborne declared Sussex is: “A part of the country so often ignored or left behind under previous governments.”
Cllr Theobald went on: “All the areas such as Manchester and Birmingham which have been successful in negotiations with Government for greater powers have had a bold and ambitious vision for their area. By putting the obvious case for a second direct rail link from Brighton to London at the forefront of our bid I believe that we can join these municipal powerhouses. BML2 would bring about enormous economic benefits to both Greater Brighton and Greater London and at the same time ease congestion and give passengers a direct and reliable alternative when things go wrong with the current Brighton to London line.”
BML2 chairman Brian Hart told the Express: “The day after this statement we made a presentation to Brighton and Hove City Council. We were delighted to be backed across all parties, including by Caroline Lucas (Green) who could have objected to the concept of a tunnel though the Downs, but clearly environmental credentials of a railway beat a road every time. If this goes ahead, then not just Brighton, but Chichester and Hastings would have a direct link to Canary Wharf and the City.”
City Council leader, Cllr Warren Morgan said: “I’d welcome any investment by the Government in better rail links from Brighton to London. It was disappointing that the Chancellor chose to spend £300 million elseewhere in his Autumn Statement. Devolution to the Greater Brighton City Region will give us more power to get investment in the infrastructure and our local economy and I’m pleased the Secretary of State views our bid as a strong one.”
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