Residents prepared to fight for subway

The south platform, including the white fence which is a relic of when the subway was open to the public
The south platform, including the white fence which is a relic of when the subway was open to the public

FIGHTING talk from residents gave Shoreham Society courage to continue its battle to open up the railway subway again.

People have said they would be prepared to make a stand, if it came to it, to show the strength of feeling.

Society chairman Gerard Rosenberg said there was a very good turnout for the public meeting last Friday. Suggestions included a large gathering at the crossing with banners.

“What we are trying to do is reinstate what was there before,” he explained.

“It is going to be a long haul and we will ratchet the campaign up if we need to.”

Campaign organiser Adrian Towler set the ball rolling with a public meeting in September and he has been pressing Network Rail and Southern for answers ever since.

He said: “It is very daunting, the amount of time that has been spent on this particular project, particularly as it is such a simple one, in my opinion.”

John Eccles, community relations adviser at Network Rail, told the society the authority had no objections, as long as Southern was happy with it.

Mr Towler pointed out Network Rail would be likely to pay the bulk of the cost.

“Network Rail is putting a lot of money into safety at level crossings and has a huge budget for that,” he added. “I am happy we can get a small amount of money from that. It is relevant because it is making it safer, rather than have people chancing their arms and running across.”

A written response came from Southern just hours before the meeting.

Jim Cumming, station group manager, said they would look at the society’s proposals in detail and the next step was for a project team to investigate its feasibility.

Mr Rosenberg said: “It is the most positive feedback we have had so far and I think that is thanks to Adrian’s actions.

“It is step by step and see how we do with this, but if they are going to fob us off, then we can get a specialist in.

“The idea is to try to meet with Southern and Tim Loughton and try to get some muscle behind it. There has been some criticism of barriers and the risks, so I think the railways are sensitive to this at the moment. It is good timing.”

East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton said: “At least we have got some answer from them.”