Almost 20 years ago in the Sussex Express I was accused of pursuing “Green mythology” while it was said the Wealden Line Campaign – “continues to camouflage a cadre of Green fascists determined to impose their vision of a transport Valhalla on the people of Hamsey”. So I’m well-accustomed to being criticized for championing rail travel which nowadays, judging by its rocketing usage, everyone supports and highly values.
However, Steve George (letters, 23 January) is really stretching credibility by suggesting Lewes’s Nevill Estate, Landport and Wallands areas would be affected by BML2’s South Downs tunnel. Landport might possibly notice more trains on the Lewes–London line, but that has to happen with any reopening of the railway to Uckfield.
Here in Uckfield, residents will be seeing their “precious countryside further reduced and destroyed” following the recent approval of 1,000 executive homes in Uckfield (Ridgewood Farm development) and with all these extra cars and 4x4s generated, yes, Lewes will indeed become “a lesser, noisier place” in the absence of trains to the Sussex Coast.
Without BML2’s tunnel, all trains between Uckfield and Brighton would have to attempt reversing at Lewes station with all the additional congestion and chaos that would entail. Do Lewes people really want thousands more passengers blocking their platforms, footbridges, station environs and all the ensuing additional delays?
Those such as Norman Baker, who sullenly opposes BML2, continue to deny Uckfield, Crowborough and all Wealden residents, right up to Edenbridge and Tunbridge Wells in Kent, and beyond into Oxted in Surrey, the huge economic and social benefits of fast, direct through trains to Brighton, the University of Sussex and Falmer Stadium. Equally, BML2 will bring trade, custom and tourism by train into Lewes, Seaford, Newhaven and Eastbourne with people who would otherwise be forced to drive.
As we have shown in presentations to Brighton’s Green MP Caroline Lucas, as well as a South Downs National Park officer, trains are transient entities in the landscape – unlike the constant road traffic which roars incessantly through bisected Southover Hill.
Lewes and the whole of Sussex have nothing to lose with BML2, but everything to gain.
Campaign Director Wealden Line Campaign, Uckfield