We would hope that the prospective Conservative candidate is severely embarrassed by the assertion of your correspondent, Wendy Alexander, that she should take credit for the additional stopping service at Cooksbridge station.
The volunteers of the Cooksbridge Station Partnership have been campaigning relentlessly for an improved service since 2009 and the latest success, Southern’s decision to stop the weekday 2046 from London Victoria, is entirely due to our efforts. We have had one meeting with Maria Caulfield at which she offered her public support. She is also arranging for us to meet with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, which we hope will be helpful.
However, I’m sure she will acknowledge that she is a relative newcomer to the campaign.
In defence of Norman Baker, we cannot see that he claimed any credit for the new stopping service. Indeed, apart from the erroneous caption to the photograph, the article in your issue of December 12 seems to us to be entirely accurate. At our request he did arrange a meeting with the manager responsible for timetable development at Southern. The meeting was extremely helpful to us in allowing us to make our case directly. Norman was very supportive throughout and it is accurate to now say that given various planned efficiencies it is possible for Southern to reduce journey times from Lewes on the proposed faster service. It is also true that a stop at Cooksbridge could be accommodated on the proposed hourly slower service without any increase in current journey times, though Southern has not yet committed to do so. The Station Partnership continues to work extremely hard to convince the company and turn our objective of a decent train service at Cooksbridge into a reality.
We welcome the support of all political parties for our campaign but, notwithstanding the imminent election, we would prefer those who support us to maintain a sense of proportion about their own importance and ask their supporters to refrain from making inaccurate public statements.