THE OWNERS of an eyesore bridge at one of the main entrances to Hastings town centre have been invited to tidy it up or face legal action.
The borough council has written to Network Rail inviting bosses to improve the condition of Queens Road railway bridge before they are forced to make changes under the Town and Country Planning Act. The Grade Two listed structure has become a blot on the landscape according to ward councillor Godfrey Daniel.
Cllr Daniel campaigned to have the 110-year-old bridge painted and lit up at night when he was Mayor of Hastings in 2000. But more than 10 years on the bridge is once again in need of attention.
Cllr Daniel said: “This bridge is a monumental and historic gateway to our town centre. For too long now Network Rail has neglected its deteriorating appearance. The bridge was last painted more than 10 years ago and is long overdue a new lick of paint. If we can’t get Network Rail to take some positive action we will be pressing for vigorous enforcement measures.”
Marcus Berrisford, the council’s senior planning enforcement officer, has written to Network Rail inviting it to take action.
He confirmed that if the operator does not take appropriate action then it could be forced to carry out the work under the Town and Country Planning Act of 1990.
In his letter to Network Rail, Mr Berrisford states: “I have to advise you that if prompt progress is not made in terms of remedying the poor visual condition of the bridge and a guarantee given in that regard the council will take enforcement action under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act.”
Network Rail spokesman Gareth Gaskarth said: “With thousands of structures along tens of thousands of miles of track in Britain and limited funding available, work is prioritised on safety rather than appearance.
“We have received a letter from Hastings Borough Council concerning the condition of Queens Road railway bridge and giving the points raised further consideration.”