THE CASE FOR reinstating the Lewes to Uckfield rail link has been strengthened by backing from the House of Lords.
Peers are challenging the Government over a new road and redevelopment in Uckfield which could threaten the link. With the Brighton line at full capacity they want the parallel railway between London and the South Coast safeguarded.
The potential threat could emerge if plans go ahead to redevelop parts of Uckfield town centre which could see a road crossing the rail bed, which is currently intact.
Earl Atlee said the Government intended selling the railway land and was ‘absolutely confident’ the plans would not compromise re-opening.
But Lord Berkeley stressed the Uckfield site was ‘essential’ to re-opening while Lord Bradshaw wants the land transferred to Network Rail safekeeping.
The company has already expressed concern insisting that a road bridge should be provided and its press statement says: “Network Rail will continue to protect the route which could be used, so if the business case changes in the future, the option to re-open the line will still be available.”
BML2 Project manager Brian Hart was appalled at the Conservatives’ U-turn once in Government.
He told the Express: “Before the election their rail minister assured us Lewes-Uckfield was ‘an issue of high importance’ but now they’re saying re-opening could wait another 20 years. We say conditions on the Brighton Line are already intolerable.”