Hastings council leader ‘excited’ by high speed rail report

Peter Chowney welcomed the news
Peter Chowney welcomed the news

The leader of Hastings council is ‘excited’ by the report claiming high speed rail links for 1066 country would ‘supercharge’ the economy.

Representatives from East Sussex County Council, Hastings Borough Council and Rother District Council have all given their thoughts on the report released today (Friday, October 9).

The councils commissioned the report to evaluate the economic benefits of the HS1 line from London to Ashford being extended to Bexhill via Rye and Hastings.

Cllr Peter Chowney said the Javelin service would revitalise the town.

“I am very excited at the findings of this report, which makes a very strong business case for extending high speed trains to Hastings and Bexhill,” he said.

“We have seen some tremendous investment in the area over the last few years, which has created new jobs, a real boost to our reputation, and the feeling that things really are getting better.

“But the latest national statistics show that Hastings is still the most deprived town in the south east, and the second most deprived seaside resort in the country, so there is still much more work to be done.

“A high speed link to London is absolutely vital for our regeneration to continue, and I hope that this really positive report will help us get the investment in the rail infrastructure that we so desperately need.”

The report claims the service would be worth more than £350million over the next 30 years.

The county council’s lead member for economy Rupert Simmons said: “We are delighted with this report, which makes an overwhelming case for the extension of the high speed rail line into East Sussex.

“While the business case is greater than we could have imagined, this is the first step and we will still have to wait for Network Rail’s report on the cost and feasibility of extending the high speed rail line.

“This is about improving the economy and increasing the number of jobs in Hastings and Bexhill by investing in important infrastructure.

“As well as encouraging a buoyant job market, reducing the journey time to London by 30 minutes will help to encourage inward investment in the county and improve accessibility for residents and businesses alike.

“This, on top of the investment being made in the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road and other infrastructure to unlock employment development in the area, will help us create and support a thriving economy in East Sussex.”

The next step is for Network Rail and the government to decide whether or not to implement the proposal.

High speed rail ‘game changer’ for 1066 country

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