Historic building faces demolition by rail firm

Polegate signal box
Polegate signal box

An historic landmark is at risk of being demolished to save money at Polegate’s railway station.

Network Rail wants to demolish the Victorian signal box building as part of a multi- million costcutting exercise.

An application by the company has been lodged with Wealden District Council.

The railway company hopes to start the three month demolition work next December as part of a country-wide scheme to rid itself of almost all signal boxes as they become redundant.

Some of the boxes are listed buildings and could be saved.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “English Heritage has carried out a full audit of the boxes in the country.

“There are some listed ones and there are some new listed ones as a result of the audit.

“Signal boxes are on railway land and that poses a problem because they can’t remain in situ.”

He added: “If people have credible proposals with funding which takes care of moving it somewhere else so it could continue its life, we would be pleased to listen to that.”

Those buildings not listed will be demolished over the next 15 to 20 years.

The demolition of the buildings is part of a scheme to save a total of £250 million a year for the railway firm.

Michael Clewitt, a Polegate resident, said the building was an important landmark in the town.

He said: “This building is the epitome of Polegate, itself founded by the railways. An important junction prior to Dr Beeching.

“No doubt one of the oldest buildings in Polegate and a lovely little example of Victorian railway architecture.

“ Shame John Betjemen is no longer with us to give evidence. It is unique because of its list. Pisa has something similar.

Polegate resident Jayne Bigsby called for the Polegate building to be taken over and used within the community.