Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Save Cockshut Lane

For walkers, dog walkers & cyclists

Re: Cockshut Lane (the western end from the Stanley Turner ground to the corner near the bridge under the A27) 

Blind turning  left under A27
Since 2005 there has been a planning application condition which prohibited the use of Cockshut Lane (the western end from the Stanley Turner ground to the corner near the bridge under the A27) by vehicles associated with the business units at Rise Farm. This is part of the multi-user path to the west of Lewes. As you may know there was considerable effort put in by many people to designate this track as a ‘bridleway’ which has been supported by the ESCC and LDC and the South Downs National Park. 

Blind corner by water works
Sadly the gate at the Stanley Turner end of the track has been damaged and removed. This has led to an increase of cars and vans using the track speeding around two blind corners which is a very real danger to walkers, dog walkers & cyclists. 

The owner of Rise Farm, has now put in an application (SDNP/15/00575/CND) to have the vehicular restriction lifted. The application can be viewed and comments posted at:

Then enter the above reference number. 

The closing date for comments (on-line by e-mail or by post) is 4th March 2015 

If you would object to the use of the track as a road please register your objection on line of by writing in.

More information on the situation:

Click on map to see detail.

This map show existing options for the Rise Farm businesses. Adding a 3rd (red dotted line) would provide an unrestricted (no speed limit) 'rat run into Lewes day and night! 

map Ordnance Survey copyright   

Click on picture to see detail.

The Highways Agency & ESCC own the track! 

The gates at each end have been removed &/or damaged. 

ESCC & the Highways Agency own the track! Please read this copy of my email to Rupert Clubb, Director of Communities, Economy and Transport at ESCC on 25 Feb 2015:

Dear Sir,

Your department has submitted a note in relation to the above-mentioned application saying they wish to make no comments. Please would you review your Council’s position on this application? Please take into consideration the following:

1)   I find this very surprising for a number of reasons, none the least of these being the fact that the county council are in the process of becoming the owner of the trackway concerned in this application. I understand that the Highways Agency and the East Sussex County Council are in the last stages of arranging the transfer of land ownership.
2)   I’m also surprised to find that your department wishes to make no comment since the county council are also in the last stages of confirming the route of this trackway as being a bridleway.
3)   Allowing the free movement of vehicles along this trackway will present a danger to walkers and cyclists which include mothers with prams, disabled with mobility scooters and children on their way to school at the Priory School.
4)   I trust that your officers are aware also that this trackway forms part of the proposed Egrets Way which has the support of the South Downs National Park and I believe your own authority.
5)   The businesses at Rise Farm already have 2 options in terms of entry and exit to their site:
i)     For large vehicles – via Ham Lane into Mountfield Road, which is already used by heavy vehicles travelling to and from the household waste recycling centre and the sewerage works.
ii)   For small vehicles – via Cockshut Road and under the railway bridge to Southover High Street.
6)   Opening up the general use of this track way to the west will encourage other users to use this as a cut-through to various parts of Lewes thus increasing the danger to pedestrians and cyclists, day-time and night-time. NB there is no lighting on this track.
7)   Please note that the original planning permission for this trackway  was to allow agricultural vehicles only to gain access to land on the southern side of the A27 bypass. I have no objection to this specific condition and I don’t think any of the local residents in the area do either.
8)   The original control of access was by 2 gates – one at the west and one at the east end. I believe these gates were installed by East Sussex County Council. Sadly they have now being damaged or removed.
9)   Please do not confuse Cockshut Lane with Cockshut Road.
10)       Please note that this trackway has only been ‘opened up’ in the last few years since the time the gates were removed or damaged. Prior to this and since about 1979 this trackway has been exclusively used for pedestrians, cyclists and authorised agricultural vehicles.
11)       Please remember that this track is used by walkers & cyclists from Cranedown/Kingston Road and Kingston as well as  other villages in the eastern side to the Ouse valley.

I hope you would agree with the points raised in this email but if you do not I would be happy to arrange a site meeting with your officers and representatives of local organisations and groups so that we may discuss the matter in detail.

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