bringing important railway connections together


These silly stunts fool no one. This comedy dressed up as part of Lewes and Wealden’s ‘Transport Plan’ would see an essential rail link forfeited for a leisure-based cycle path. Quite apart from the enormous difficulties in engineering, do they really want youngsters – who are always being warned never to play near railway lines – being in such close proximity to 750 volts of electricity, let alone being at risk from 90mph trains?

A £30,000 ‘Scoping Study’ to construct a cycle path on the long-protected trackbed between Uckfield and Lewes has now been approved by both Wealden and Lewes District Councils which are both controlled by the Liberal Democrats and Greens.

This hugely controversial move cancels out all their previous assurances and commitment in seeing this railway restored to its former main line status as a key route between London and the Sussex Coast, as well as between East Sussex and Kent through Tunbridge Wells.

A long-term supporter of the Wealden Line Campaign, Conservative Cllr Michael Lunn, was clearly exasperated and concerned. Speaking up for all those who, across many decades, have diligently fought for this railway’s restoration, he told officers and councillors the proposal was “a joke – a comedy – a Muppet show. You have absolutely no idea what you’re doing!”

Indeed they don’t, as subsequent comment brought to our attention reveals its advocates weren’t even aware the Uckfield line was once double track throughout. They argue ‘the functioning line has one, and there would be no point in having two from Lewes to Uckfield and one thereafter.’ They’re clearly ignorant of the fact that the Hurst Green–Uckfield section is 50% double track with three singled sections (installed in 1990).

Following objections raised by the Uckfield Railway Line Parishes Committee which represents the towns along the line, even the historic Trackbed Protection Policy is now under serious threat after it was said ‘Currently only a single track is preserved’ – well this is certainly news to us. When was this decided – and by whom? County Structure Plan CA/T8 states: ‘Development which would significantly prejudice the reinstatement of the former Uckfield to Lewes railway line (shown on the Proposals Map) will not be permitted.’ We think most will agree that a 3m/10ft-wide parallel cycle path represents a very significant hindrance. 

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