Campaign to open up subway gathers pace

Project manager Adrian Towler says the subway on the north side would just need the gate re-positioning
Project manager Adrian Towler says the subway on the north side would just need the gate re-positioning

THE campaign to open up the station subway in Shoreham is gathering pace.

Network Rail is already on side and the Shoreham Society is now pressing for a decision from Southern.

The idea is to allow pedestrians to be able to access the subway steps, rather than having to wait when the gates are down at the level crossing in Buckingham Road.

A second public meeting will be held next Friday, to decide the next course of action.

Project manager Adrian Towler said: “The Shoreham Society campaign to open up the station subway is finally making some progress.”

He hopes for a positive response from Southern, but if not, the society would use the meeting to gauge reaction.

“The anger level can be ascertained to see if there’s an appetite for peaceful protest, mild disruption, mass trespass, or a social media campaign,” he added. “Basically, whatever people think will work.”

In consultation with architects on the society committee, a plan has been prepared to open up the subway, while keeping ticket-holders for trains and pedestrians passing by separate.

When British Rail filled in the steps from the street in 1986, it left much of the infrastructure in place, so the society believes it could easily be put back into use.

Mr Towler said there are short fences along each platform, so it just needed suitable gates putting in. He belives this will making the station more convenient for many of the rail users, too.

“This plan has now been submitted to Southern with the request they look at it seriously,” he added.

“What British Rail closed in the ’80s, Southern could open again in 2014 and be seen as local heroes, champions of the community.”

Network Rail has written to the society to say it has no objection to the subway being opened up and will co-operate with Southern, if it agrees to the change.

Frustrated with the lack of response from Southern, Mr Towler spoke to area station manager Jim Cumming at Hove railway station. Southern’s customer services team has since agreed to ensure the society’s plans are reviewed and a response is given.

The public meeting will be held in St Peter’s Church hall, West Street, Shoreham, on March 21 at 6pm.