Fight to save signal box

Polegate signal box
Polegate signal box

The fight to save Polegate signal box took a step forward this week after campaigners agreed to approach Network Rail with their finalised bid to take over the building.

Last week the Express reported how the historic signal box on the railway line in Polegate could be pulled down after the Save our Signal Box campaign group lost its battle to get the building listed.

Network Rail wants to demolish the signal box building, and some others in the country as part of a countrywide modernisation scheme. All signalling around the country will be moved to 14 hubs – the nearest to Polegate will be at Three Bridges.

Campaigners signed a petition and appealed to English Heritage in a bid to get the building listed which would give it protection from demolition. But this was turned down.

But Network Rail said it was in discussions with the local authority and local people about whether the box has an alternative use within the community

And on Thursday (September 19) the Save our Signal Box campaign group held a committee meeting at Polegate Town Hall where they decided to finalise with Network Rail its terms for taking over the building. They also decided to open an account with Barclays bank for people interested in donating funds to help save the building.

Michael Clewett, who is also a town councillor added: “I shall be submitting an appeal against the decision of English Heritage not to list the building and we have started to think about fund-raising. We are opening an account with Barclays bank in Polegate under the name of “Polegate Signal Box” and all donations will be welcome. As a precaution, I am submitting a motion to council that the box be added to the list of town assets currently being drawn up.I am sure all on the council will agree. In essence this means that the council have first option to purchase the building for the town, should adequate funds be forthcoming, if the owner wishes to dispose of it. So that is our current position and we await the response from Network Rail and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport who consider the appeal regarding listing.”

If people wish to see minutes from campaign meetings they can telephone Mr Clewett on 01323-486647.