www.hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk     Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Trains pass within metres of the new M&S cafe at Glyne Gap.

Why no station at Glyne Gap?

It is ironic that you can sit in the new M&S Cafe at Glyne Gap and see the trains pass by, but there’s no way you can take your shopping home via the railway. In order to raise this point publicly, Hastings Alliance organised a demonstration – ‘Why No Station?’ – at Ravenside shopping centre last Thursday, 28 November, to coincide with the opening of the new Marks and Spencer store. Erica Smith looks at the arguments for a new station.

For many years, Rother District Council (RDC) has had a proposal in its Local Development Framework for a new station at Glyne Gap. This would help reduce traffic on the Bexhill Road by encouraging shoppers at the ever-expanding Ravenside retail park to use the train. Currently, the shopping centre is accessible only by car or by expensive and infrequent buses.

Now, the council is seeking to remove the proposal, putting the final nail in the coffin of this much needed improvement to sustainable transport. The removal of Glyne Gap station was one of the proposed modifications to the ‘Core Strategy’, which were the subject of a recent consultation. The results of the consultation have not yet been published.

Speaking for the organisations, Derrick Coffee said: “We believe that a new station at Glyne Gap/Ravenside could play a key role in a public transport strategy for Bexhill and Hastings: its removal from the planning strategy would be a backward step. Ravenside itself should never have been built without a station and today’s opening of the new Marks and Spencers store is just another stark reminder of the ‘roads first’ philosophy of local politicians and MPs, which has served their communities poorly. The question has to be asked: ‘Why do Rother and East Sussex politicians want to delete references to the planned station, when it would surely be wise to retain them?’”

The recent ‘unfavourable’ £30,000 study commissioned by Rother District and East Sussex County Councils looked at just one train per hour – unrealistic for a level of service.

According to the campaigners, the station would:

  • Serve students and staff at nearby Bexhill College and acknowledge the needs of young people
  • Give all shoppers hugely improved access to Ravenside retail stores
  • Help workers at Ravenside and Brett Drive industrial estate to get to work
  • Give better access to the swimming pool all day and into the evening
  • Give existing and new residents a high quality choice – and a step change in public transport for all
  • Reduce the inevitable growth in congestion on Bexhill Road and the A259
  • Limit the huge increase in traffic that will accompany the discredited and costly Link Road
  • Improve air quality and reduce C02 emissions

Derick Coffey said: “New and re-opened stations are frequently massively more successful than anticipated and the location of businesses and institutions close to stations is not just good sense, it’s extremely popular and it works at Hastings, Ore and Collington. It works for everyone and is environmentally responsible. The cost? About £4m – that’s 3% of the cost of the Link Road.”

For more information, contact: derrick.coffee@talk21.com

Posted 16:50 Tuesday, Dec 3, 2013 In: Campaigns

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