The need for modification for the railway bridge at Jarvis Brook has long been canvassed and discussed in Crowborough, so I cannot claim any credit for being behind the idea. As you probably also know, the Crowborough & District Chamber of Commerce requested a meeting with senior Highways Officers of the County Council last year, which Cllr. Mrs Sylvia Tidy and I facilitated, to highlight road transport issues in and around Crowborough and the request for the production of an integrated long term transport plan. That broadly endorsed the position Cllr. Mrs Tidy had been advocating at various levels in the Transport & Environment (now Communities, Economy and Transport) Department of the County Council for a number of years now.
One of the issues discussed at that meeting (and those preceding it) was the need for substantive restructuring of the railway bridge as part of the plan. In response to that, the design team in the Communities, Transport & Environment (CET) Team at County Hall, recently reported the approximate cost of works designed to increase the depth of the existing road surface beneath the Bridge. Contemporaneously, Rotherfield residents had introduced a Petition to the County Council to alleviate problems of heavy traffic damaging buildings there in regard to access to the village via the B2100 to and from Mark Cross.
There appears to be common ground in viewing the current railway bridge structure as an obstacle to improved transport links for both Crowborough & Rotherfield generally. Our belief is that improved arrangements along the B2100 would have a substantive impact in relieving pressures on Crowborough residents at Hurtis Hill, Fermor Road and most of all Western Road, as well as Rotherfield residents.
While increasing the depth beneath the Bridge might serve to permit passage by taller vehicles, the access would remain narrow for large vehicles and fails to resolve the issue of improving pedestrian access underneath the bridge, where the current arrangements are wholly unsatisfactory. The same applies to cycle useage.
It was against that background that we have asked the Director of CET to look at the option of approaching Network Rail with a view to widening and increasing the height of the access with a new bridge structure. At the same time, the Petition by Crowborough Residents is generally attracting support and by the end of last week over 300 signatures had then been obtained.
I understand there is some criticism of the petition for not including a proposal to widen Palesgate Lane to provide a viable heavy traffic link between the B2100 at Jarvis Brook and the A26 at Steel Cross. The most recently costed estimates for the Palesgate Lane project are indicated at £9.5m. In the current climate, it seems to us that a start has to be made somewhere and the bridge is probably more achievable in the current climate, where a lesser improvement sum is contemplated.
Herewith the petition for your website and thank you for making it available for your readers.
Click to download a copy of the petition – please return it to Cllr Stogdon c/o Crowborough Town Hall. Note the proforma is 10 pages long – so you may only wish to print the first page.