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Latest Travel Log Newsletter


 
 

March 2019

 

RAIL CLOSURES, LEWES CUT OFF AGAIN


NO TRAINS TO OR FROM LEWES

On the following days, there will no trains to or from Lewes at all. 

Thursday 7 March to Sunday 10 inclusive

Sunday 17th March

There will be no trains between the following stations:

  • Wivelsfield - Lewes

  • Falmer - Lewes

  • Seaford - Lewes

  • Polegate - Lewes

A shuttle train between Brighton and Falmer will be replacing normal service, running every 40 minutes.(may not run on Sundays)

During this time, railway buses will replace trains. There will be:

  • A stopping service between Brighton and Seaford calling at all stations

  • A stopping service between Brighton and Polegate calling at Lewes

  • A limited service between Haywards Heath to Polegate, calling at Cooksbridge and Lewes

  • A stopping service between Haywards Heath and Lewes calling at Plumpton

  • A limited stopping service between Lewes and Polegate calling at Glynde and Berwick

You can use your railway ticket on the 28 and 29 Brighton buses between Lewes and Brighton.  This may be cheaper than buying a bus ticket if you have a rail card.

BRIGHTON BUSES APP

Once upon a time Brighton buses had a live bus times app you could install on your phone.  It was an amazingly useful app, especially for users of the 28 and 29 buses.  These buses can be delayed because of jams in Brighton or as far afield as Tunbridge Wells so it is important to discover when the buses will actually come.

Then the company started to market mobile phone tickets in a big way and created another app to do this.

And then somebody had the bright idea of discontinuing the live times app and putting live times on the mobile ticket app.  The two systems ran in tandem for a while but the live times app was discontinued from the end of February.

Travelman did once find out how to find live times on the mobile tickets app, but then could not find a way of bookmarking the stops he regularly uses. Now he cannot find the live times at all, although the company says they are in there somewhere.

Instead travelman suggests giving apps the shove and using the Brighton Buses web site at https://www.buses.co.uk/   This has live times at the top on a mobile (top right on a computer.) and you can bookmark your favourite stops.

But all is not completely well. The web site shows scheduled times in black and actual times in green The evening before writing this Travelman needed to be in Brighton for just after 7.30 pm.  The 7pm bus was gaily scheduled in black as due at 7pm until quarter to seven when it suddenly turned green and was shown as running 15 minutes late.  One appointment missed.

This was a 29 that had been scheduled to depart Tunbridge Wells at 5.30 and which the driver said had been delayed in Crowborough.  Perhaps tracking does not work in such rural parts.

LEWES DAY BUS TICKETS

Just to remind you about the little known Lewes day ticket or Lewes Rover, which entitles you to travel on all buses in Lewes. The boundaries are Malling (Stonham Cottages), Neville Crescent, The Stanley Turner and Hope in the Valley. The whole of the Neville, Malling and Winterbourne Estates are included.

The price is £3.60 for the day, £14.50 for the week and you can buy the ticket on the bus.  There are no child fares. (source Compass Travel)

As an alternative, you might buy a plusbus ticket for Lewes.  You have to buy a train ticket as well, so it is most helpful if you are going somewhere on the train, but a single ticket from Lewes to Seaford costs £1.85 with a railcard (£2.80 without). Add to this the cost of a plusbus ticket for Lewes at £1.65 with a railcard (£2.50 without) and you may have a bargain because the ticket covers a wider area than the Lewes day ticket.

The area takes in Rodmell, Kingston, South Chailey, Ringmer, Glynde and Selmeston as well as Lewes.

You will have to buy the ticket at Lewes railway station, unless you book for enough in advance online to be sent a ticket in the post.

Wouldn't it be great if we had proper through ticketing on all buses and trains?

WANT A RAILCARD?  GET A GOLD CARD

With train fares being so high, the usual discount on off peak travel of one third is important if you qualify.  But for many people the only railcard they can get is a Network Railcard, which anyone can buy, but which is only valid after 10.00 Monday to Friday and has a minimum Monday to Friday fare of £13 (more for a travelcard) and only covers the south east.

The answer may be to buy an annual season ticket, called a Gold Card.  This entitles you to one third off off peak travel in the south east from 9.30 without a minimum fare.

The cheapest annual season is from Newhaven Harbour to Newhaven Town which costs £172, which is a lot, but if you do a lot of shorter journeys the payment may be worthwhile.  On an off peak day return to Brighton you would save £1.75, so if you do that journey 100 times a year you would save money.

Additionally, you can nominate someone else to get a railcard they qualify for, for £10, an immediate saving of about £20.

RISE FARM AND IFORD BRIDLEWAY

The Ramblers Association has come to a tentative agreement with Iford Farms to create a bridleway from Lewes to Iford via Rise Farm.  There is a certain amount of discussion that needs to take place and funding to find, so do not expect anything too soon.  But this is a very welcome agreement by a landowner that recognises the importance of recreation in the countryside. At the moment most of the route is open on a permissive basis, but for walkers only.



LEWES RACECOURSE

East Sussex County Council has decided to make an order to shift the bridleway at the north east side of Lewes racecourse more or less back to the position it was before the land owner moved it to a narrow strip of 3 metres next to the fence on the adjoining land.  But the wording of the decision is so odd that it is open to challenge.  Now they have to make and publish the order.  Landowners and others can object to it.  If they do the Planning Inspectorate will make a final decision and may hold a public enquiry.

All this is not the same issue as the goings on to the southeast of the racecourse buildings, where landowners have built fences and a road.  These issues are subject to planning enforcement action by the South Downs National Park, as described in the last issue.

THIS MONTH’S WALKS

As fabulous February turns to Manky March it may not seem time for walking, but the weather is mild, and if you stay out of the weald there is good walking to be had.

Here are some downland walks which should be dryer.

Mount Caburn and the right to roam

This short walk up mount Caburn celebrates the success of the Ramblers’ “right to roam campaign and includes fabulous views and quiet countryside where you can wander at will. You can also combine this walk with a ramble round Lewes town.  5.7 km,  3.6 miles

The secluded Balsdean Valley

9.4miles 15.1km There can be few places where you can be so cut off so near to big towns and cities as Balsdean and Standean Bottoms and there can be few places where you can get such panoramic views in all directions, sea, downs and towns.

From Lewes to Spain

A grand excursion from the ancient town of Lewes all the way to a microcosm of Spain by the costa, by way of lowland villages and spacious downland vistas. 7. 5 miles, 12.5 km

Malling Down

A short walk on Malling Down, above Lewes, with grand views over the surrounding area and Malling Nature Reserve, also visiting the Martyrs Memorial. 5.57 Km / 3.46 Miles

 The Stanmer Skyline Walk

A grand circuit of the skyline above Stanmer village, with woodlands and varied far reaching views, on a route originally designed for wheelchair users and so mostly firm underfoot in all seasons and with no stiles.  A few gates.  5.5 miles


SECRETIVE GROUP PLANS DUAL CARRIAGEWAY FROM LEWES TO POLEGATE


The minutes of a secretive group trying to persuade the government to build a motorway-style dual carriageway from Lewes to Polegate have finally been published revealing some decidedly odd goings-on. Members include Maria Caulfield, Conservative MP for Lewes, and Steven Lloyd, Lib-Dem MP for Eastbourne.

Here Bill Rodgers of the South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment group (SCATE) analyses what the minutes tell us

“After nearly three years of planning in secret, a few facts are beginning to emerge from the politicians who want to drive a new dual carriageway across ancient weald land between Lewes and Eastbourne. The A27 Reference Group, a self-selecting committee of MPs and local councillors, has published four sets of minutes after pressure at public meetings; and HIghways England has confirmed that a bid for funding is with the Department of Transport, with a top range ‘most-likely’ estimate of £528m.

NOT TAKING NO FOR AN ANSWER

From the minutes, the frustration of the MPs is clear. Back in 2016 they were told that their first bid was too expensive (at £450m), and too damaging for the environment. The smaller-scale plans, currently underway, to improve the existing A27 were simply not good enough for them, and they lobbied new Transport Secretary Chris Grayling directly. He authorised £3m of the £75m set aside for A27 improvements to be spent on new studies for an off-line route.

In July 2016, former Conservative MP for Eastbourne, Caroline Ansell and Councillor Bob Standley, Leader of Wealden District Council lobbied Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Andrew Jones MP; they said he was “very positive about the proposed larger scheme”. The A27 Reference Group claimed ‘it has been agreed with the DfT [Department for Transport] that ESCC [East Sussex County Council] will take the lead in developing the scheme.’   That’s not how things should be done – Highways England is the body which is responsible for the Strategic Road Network.

MASSIVE GROWTH AROUND POLEGATE

In October 2016, the Reference Group met again, and an unnamed council official said he had ‘reviewed the impact of the proposed increase of housing and employment in the Hailsham/Polegate area. It is showing that offline dualling of the A27 is necessary to support the planned growth.’  He had employed consultants to work out a new benefit/cost ratio out of ESCC funds. So, with a press of a calculator, bingo ! A new longer dual carriageway, more complex at Copthall and Southerham, is suddenly value for money, because of unapproved housing plans in the ‘South Wealden growth area’  – Greater Eastbourne, to you and me.

The key ACTION from this meeting ?  ‘The East Sussex MPs will approach Chris Grayling MP and the Treasury Team to put forward this information and lobby for the scheme to be in RIS2.’  RIS2 is a pot of £23bn, taken from Vehicle Excise Duty, now in the safe hands of Mr Grayling – so good with railway franchises, drones and ferries.

The A27 Reference Group met again in September 2017, and the politicians’ cavalier attitude to environment issues becomes clear from the minutes. ‘In terms of timescales for delivery, start of construction of an offline dual carriageway would be towards the back end of the RIS2 period. It is likely it would require a DCO [Development Consent Order] which includes a public inquiry. The negative environmental impact is where issues with a DCO would arise.’ You betcha.

A MEGA ROAD?  WHAT ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT?

From the February 2018 minutes, we get more detail on the size of their plans for a new road. ‘Scope includes the section between Southerham Roundabout and Beddingham Roundabout (online widening), Beddingham Roundabout to Cophall Roundabout (new offline route), and Cophall Roundabout (at-grade or grade-separation for east-west movements).

‘Cllr Hollidge asked what could be the likely objections. XXXXX advised that as long as there is clear mitigation around the environment they don’t foresee major objections and the National Park are currently engaged. MC [Maria Caulfield] mentioned that Gatwick Airport is supportive as it helps their case for a second runway.’

We’re all looking forward to the ‘clear mitigation around the environment’ for a road that will add at least 25% to pollution, and drive through sensitive wildlife habitats and landscapes largely unchanged since Roman times. How amusing that our in-touch politicians ‘don’t foresee major objections’.

Let’s prove them wrong.  Unless and until there’s an independent study of all transport options between Lewes and Eastbourne, this half-baked scheme must be firmly opposed. “

You can find more details of SCATE at http://scate.org.uk

 INTERESTED IN OTHER THINGS GOING ON IN LEWES?

Visit the sister web site to Travel Log Lewes, www.leweseye.co.uk  which covers other stories about the Lewes District Council area that other publications won’t cover.

GOT SOMETHING THAT OTHER PEOPLE OUGHT TO KNOW ABOUT?

Send it to me at travelman@travelloglewes.co.uk  Deadline for each issue is the 25th of the month before.

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