Polegate residents fight ‘petty’ developers for bridge to stay up
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The bridge is behind Spur Road off Brightling Road to enter the Hindsland.
It was put up during lockdown and covers a ditch which means members of the public can cross safely when out walking – something residents says increased in popularity during the covid restrictions.
The land is accessed by a number of public footpaths and is regularly used by the community.
Despite this, East Sussex County Council confirmed the land is owned by Danescroft Land Ltd, a developer based in London. Now Danescroft is planning to remove the bridge.
A sign attached to the bridge (as of Tuesday, February 8) says, “This structure is trespassing on private land belonging to Danescroft. It will be removed and disposed on or after Feb 18.
“If the person who erected the bridge wishes to take possession of it before that date please contact Marengo Communications.”
Danescroft ran a public consultation in February last year to build 180 homes and a medical centre on the land. A decision still hasn’t been made about these plans (reference: WD/2021/0594/MEA).
A spokesperson for Danescroft said, “Whilst we note the concerns, the Hindsland site is private land which means it should not be accessed without permission from the landowner.
“As we do not wish to encourage trespassers onto the site, we will be removing the bridge later this month. The purpose of the notice was to give whoever owns or constructed the bridge the opportunity to retrieve it.
“The plans to build much needed new homes and a brand new medical centre for the area have been with Wealden Council for some months now, and we look forward to bringing the site forward in the near future.”
Residents aren’t happy about the news.
Graham Popham said he used it a lot through lockdown to walk his dog. He said Danescroft is being ‘petty’.
David Knight said the bridge was built after overgrown weeds and brambles were cut back. He said, “Lots of local people walking their dogs, or just going for a walk, were using a well trodden opening (where the bridge is now,) to enter Hindsland. Many commented that a bridge would be helpful to help them get across the ditch, and many had slipped and hurt themselves during inclement weather.
“If the bridge is to be demolished, then surely the fence, posts, and brambles, should be too!”
Alyson Heywood said, “While we understand that Danescroft own the land and are trying to get planning permission, which by the way we will fight to the end to defeat, we cannot understand why they want to act in such a petty way.
“Removing the bridge will not prevent access it will just make it more hazardous. There are numerous access points around the perimeter of the land and if they are so intent on preventing members of the public accessing the space then they need to erect proper fencing all the way around.
“They will not do this as it is a cost that they do not want to take on as it will diminish their profits when, if they get planning consent, they sell it on to a developer making a massive profit. Outright greed and no consideration for the local community, we will continue to fight this.”