THE ‘DARK and dingy’ footbridge across the railway line in Hampden Park is vital but must be made safer, according to the area’s Neighbourhood Watch members.
Many residents say the bridge which links the east and west sides of Hampden Park from Lottbridge Drive and Brodrick Road is well used but needs more lighting.
Last summer two students were the victims of a knifepoint robbery on the footbridge and people living in the area have reported that drinking and drug dealing take place in the alleyway leading to the bridge.
Pam Rollison, the ward co-ordinator for Hampden Park west, said, “Parents have reported seeing broken bottles down there and in the past they have been thrown in to the school playground.
“There has also been urinating and worse down there.”
Many members of the Neighbourhood Watch would like to see additional lighting and a cage type structure to stop people from throwing objects on to the trains and railway lines below.
The Neighbourhood Watch group has contacted Network Rail about the issue but has been told the bridge is old and not strong enough to support a cage-like structure.
Mrs Rollison says it is ‘vital’ the bridge is retained and maintained.
She added, “The bridge is vital because it is more used now than it has ever been, especially now that the infant school has moved to the Hydneye.
“It would be catastrophic if we were to lose the bridge because it links both sides of Hampden Park.
“However, we have been concerned for some time that it needs to be made safer.”
A spokesperson from Network Rail said East Sussex County Council is responsible for the bridge and alleyway.
A council spokesperson said, “We met local residents to present our plans for the former Hampden Park Infant School last week and the issue of the lighting along the footpath and alleyway did come up.
“At the moment there are five street lights along the alleyway, so this area should be relatively well lit.
“However, if there are problems with these lights that need fixing they can be reported to the East Sussex Highways Contact Centre on 0345 60 80 193 or you can report it through our website: www.eastsussex.gov.uk/fault.”