The South Downs Society, in responding to a timetable consultation by GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) Southern, has pressed for more frequent stopping trains at Amberley, Cooksbridge and Southease for the benefit of local residents and visitors to the national park. The text of our submission is below:
“These are the comments of the South Downs Society in response to the above consultation. The Society has nearly 2,000 members and its focus is campaigning and fund raising for the conservation of the landscape of the South Downs National Park and its quiet enjoyment. Our comments will reflect this focus.
The Society supports and encourages access to the national park by more sustainable means, including by train, and therefore wishes to see the GTR timetable adequately reflect this objective. We are keen to support existing services close to and within the national park, especially those connected to the park through the rights of way network and including the South Downs Way. We also seek improvements to those services where they will encourage greater use of the train to access the national park. Although it may mean some slight increases in journey times, we believe that increased stopping frequencies at selected stations will greatly benefit those wishing to enjoy the special qualities of the national park and thus provide encouragement to use the train for recreational and other purposes.
In particular we would respond to certain questions posed in the consultation as follows:
Qu. 7: Mainline West via Horsham: Irrespective of the issue posed in relation to Redhill station, this Society would urge an increased frequency of trains stopping at Amberley from hourly to half-hourly to match the frequency at other stops on this line, like Pulborough.
Qu. 9: Mainline East: We would urge an increase in stopping frequency at Cooksbridge to hourly off-peak, seven days a week, to match services at Plumpton.
Qu. 13: Coastway East: We would support an increased stopping frequency at Southease to half-hourly in line with other stations on this route.
The Society believes that, along with other social and economic justifications for these improvements, they would serve to promote increased use of these services to provide access to the delights of the national park.”
In response to a recent consultation by Network Rail on its Sussex Area Route Study, the Society submitted the following comments:
“These are the comments of the South Downs Society, the national park society for the South Downs National Park. The Society has nearly 2,000 members and its focus is campaigning and fund raising for the conservation and enhancement of the landscape of the national park and its quiet enjoyment.
The Society is committed to the promotion of improved access to, and enjoyment of, the park’s special qualities by more sustainable means of transport, including the train. We are also conscious that there is a statutory duty on public bodies and utilities to have regard to the park’s designation and the social and economic wellbeing of its local communities.
To these ends the Society supports measures which will facilitate recreational and other access to, within and across the national park by rail as a more environmentally sustainable from of transport than the private car.
In particular, in terms of the current consultation, the Society supports calls for the reinstatement of a Lewes to Uckfield line and the construction of an Arundel chord. We believe that these measures will not only provide much needed relief and diversion capacity for the London to Brighton line but serve to facilitate a range of additional trips serving the national park.”
National park “Friends” group, the South Downs Society, today expressed a mix of concern and caution over government’s controversial plans to invest in major expenditure on the A27 trunk road in Sussex.
Said Society chairman, Robert Cheesman, “Our focus is always on the implications for the national park but this week’s announcement is very light on detail. Any schemes for a bypass at Arundel could have a major impact on the park, as could proposals for the A27 between Beddingham and Polegate. We’re pleased that the key role of the South Downs National Park Authority in any decision has been recognised and we will be working closely with them in responding to any specific proposals that may come forward. It’s also a plus that there doesn’t seem to be any move towards solving the congestion at Worthing and Lancing by encroaching into the national park.”
The Society says it will be considering the visual and noise impacts on the special qualities of the national park of any new alignment and traffic flows on the A27 in both the shorter and longer term, the potential effects on other routes within the park, the impact on non-car users, and the implications for climate change.
Says Robert Cheesman, “We recognise the congestion and accident problems along parts of this road but the South Downs National Park is a very special place and that has to be taken on board.”