Fears battered Sun Street in Lewes could collapse

THE nightmare scenario of the collapse of a Lewes street has been raised by the town’s MP.

Norman Baker said he was extremely disturbed to see the marked deterioration in the condition of Sun Street.

Cellars below the predominantly early Victorian terrace extend under the road in front of the houses.

It raises the possibility of a vehicle actually smashing through a weakened road surface – with potentially disastrous consequences.

Mr Baker said: “I am very concerned to see the deterioration in the condition of Sun Street.

“It is clearly sinking on one side with indentations in the surface exactly where the cellars of houses protrude under the road, and is markedly worse than a few months ago.

“Local residents tell me that the street has been used recently by heavy lorries to access the old police station site where conversion to flats is taking place, and that may be part of the explanation.

“Be that as it may, I am worried that there now exists a potential for the road to collapse, which would be terrible.

“That is why on Monday I asked Rupert Clubb, the county council’s transport director, to undertake an immediate structural survey and to consider the immediate imposition of an emergency weight limit.

“We also need to be clear where responsibility would legally lie if the street did part-collapse.”

Local District Councillor David Gray (Lewes Castle) is also concerned. He said: “The condition of the street is rapidly deteriorating and there will be a disastrous outcome finally if no action is taken to deal wth this situation.

“Many people who live in Sun Street are extremely worried about the consequences of further subsidence.”

Fellow councillor Ruth O’Keeffe (Lewes Priory) has also become involved. She said: “I am aware from recent correspondence that residents have concerns about the possibility that cellar roofs under the carriageway on Sun Street could give way.

“A county council engineer from the Highways section will be visiting Sun Street soon to assess the problems and see whether the cellars are strong enough to take the traffic along the road.

“As soon as this assessment has taken place the Highways section will be able to talk to residents about what should happen next.”

A spokesman for East Sussex County Council confirmed that a structural engineer would be carrying out an inspection at the site. He would decide what action, if any, needs to be taken.

THE nightmare scenario of the collapse of a Lewes street has been raised by the town’s MP.

Norman Baker said he was extremely disturbed to see the marked deterioration in the condition of Sun Street.

Cellars below the predominantly early Victorian terrace extend under the road in front of the houses.

It raises the possibility of a vehicle actually smashing through a weakened road surface – with potentially disastrous consequences.

Mr Baker said: “I am very concerned to see the deterioration in the condition of Sun Street.

“It is clearly sinking on one side with indentations in the surface exactly where the cellars of houses protrude under the road, and is markedly worse than a few months ago.

“Local residents tell me that the street has been used recently by heavy lorries to access the old police station site where conversion to flats is taking place, and that may be part of the explanation.

“Be that as it may, I am worried that there now exists a potential for the road to collapse, which would be terrible.

“That is why on Monday I asked Rupert Clubb, the county council’s transport director, to undertake an immediate structural survey and to consider the immediate imposition of an emergency weight limit.

“We also need to be clear where responsibility would legally lie if the street did part-collapse.”

Local District Councillor David Gray (Lewes Castle) is also concerned. He said: “The condition of the street is rapidly deteriorating and there will be a disastrous outcome finally if no action is taken to deal wth this situation.

“Many people who live in Sun Street are extremely worried about the consequences of further subsidence.”

Fellow councillor Ruth O’Keeffe (Lewes Priory) has also become involved. She said: “I am aware from recent correspondence that residents have concerns about the possibility that cellar roofs under the carriageway on Sun Street could give way.

“A county council engineer from the Highways section will be visiting Sun Street soon to assess the problems and see whether the cellars are strong enough to take the traffic along the road.

“As soon as this assessment has taken place the Highways section will be able to talk to residents about what should happen next.”

A spokesman for East Sussex County Council confirmed that a structural engineer would be carrying out an inspection at the site. He would decide what action, if any, needs to be taken.