LETTER: Time’s running out for ‘our gem’

Thank you for the article on Polegate Signal Box, which is threatened with demolition [Herald, July 1]. Things have moved on slightly since.

Referring firstly to your final paragraph, which said Network Rail considered it too close to the operational railway line, I have visited the preserved signal box at Crawley. It’s about the same age as ours and functioning exactly as we propose for ours.

Polegate Signal Box is set back 2.7 metres from the nearest running rail. Crawley is as close to the tracks as possible, about 1.2m so the Network Rail comment makes no sense. It is also in very poor condition compared with our little gem. This is the case with every objection they have raised for us keeping the building, spurious reasons and even quoting proposed EU legislation which clearly will not happen now.

We seem to be up against a philistine with no appreciation of our railway heritage or the town’s history who is hell bent on having the box demolished, probably so he can get a performance bonus.

We now find out that someone at Network Rail has promised the frame to the Amberley Transport Museum. Why should they want it? They have a signal box at their station. (Network Rail have two redundant frames for disposal from the Pevensey and Westham and the Hampden Park demolished boxes). We suspect skulduggery. Is there a traitor in our town? Its is also totally contrary to the MD’s pledge that we can have the building.

Our local MP, Maria Caulfield, has said she will raise this again in Westminster and I have asked Network Rail not to remove anything else until she has spoken to ministerial colleagues. In the meantime may I ask interested readers to write to the MD of Network Rail – he who promised Norman Baker, our former MP, that we could have the building. He is: Gareth Edwards, Managing Director, South East Route, 1 Eversholt Street, London NW1 2DN.

We are now in the final days to save this delightful Victorian building, the centrepiece of our town, so urgent action is required by all who care.

Michael Clewett

Old Drive, Polegate

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