LETTER: Work to resolve subway problems

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We write regarding ‘Flooding problems must be sorted out’ (Graham Dewsall’s letter 16th October).

Mr Dewsall asked for the necessary authorities to sit up and take note of the flooding problems through the railway subway: we hope we can give him some reassurance that action is being taken.

Denne and Forest Neighbourhood Councils are well aware of the number of people that use the subways and the importance of the route. Since the railway forms the boundary between our council areas we have been working together for several years to get improvements in both the railway and North Street subways, including the approach from both ends.

Improvements will not only address the flooding but the footpath surface, decoration, fencing and overgrown vegetation to make the subways more pleasant to use at all times. You may ask what is taking so long but the situation is extremely complicated as there are different owners responsible for the walls, ceiling and surface and the land either side.

It takes a lot of perseverance to contact the right people in various departments in large organisations, get responses, bring all the authorities together and then get agreement on who is responsible for what and how the work can be financed. There have been many meetings with Horsham District Council, West Sussex County Council, Network Rail and Southern Railway and there is now a Stakeholder Group meeting monthly to ensure progress.

We have deliberately not publicised our efforts so far as we did not want to raise false hopes, but progress is being made and the subways should be resurfaced in the financial year 2015-6 (not very long now). There will also be additional work undertaken by West Sussex County Council as they have decided that the new Broadbridge Heath to Oakhill cycle route will go through the subway.

Meanwhile the neighbourhood councils have been instrumental in getting the right authorities to investigate the cause of flooding at the back entrance to the station. Work was done in March this year to increase the capacity of the gully and soakaway which seems to have solved that problem.

We also contacted Southern management on 16th October about the possibility of allowing pedestrians to use the station footbridge if the subway is closed for any reason and are expecting an answer soon.

TRUDIE MITCHELL

Chair, Denne Neighbourhood Council

DIANE SUMPTER

Chair, Forest Neighbourhood Council

North Street, Horsham