As can be seen from the diagrams shown above, there are a number of potential routes across town, details of which can be checked out on The Greenway Trust’s own website. (link)
HUDG limits comment here to one section of the route that only requires HBC, in collaboration with Network Rail, to overcome years of inertia to move the project forward.
THE TOWN CENTRE LINK
The potential of providing a traffic free “linear park” linking Hastings Station with Alexandra Park, along the railway track-side, was the starting point for what later became the Greenway project.
At the time, negotiations between HBC and Railtrack (the predecessor to Network Rail) progressed to the point of agreeing heads of terms for HBC to take a long lease on Railtrack’s land at nominal cost. It was at that point that external events affected progress.
Southern Water were progressing a major tunnelling project for Hastings, with the prospect of thousands of lorry movements throughout town to cart away the spoil. In the interest of residents and for the greater environmental good, the Greenway project agreed to defer their lease on Railtrack’s land to allow Southern Water to use the same area as a lading area for transporting their spoil by rail.
Unfortunately, at the time Southern Water were completing their operations, and before HBC could complete their lease with Railtrack, another section of Railtrack acted independently to relocate their Maintenance Compound from Station Yard to their land at the back of the Earl Street warehouses, effectively blocking the proposed Greenway route. This was an expedient move by a department of Railtrack, anxious to clear Station Yard for a potential sale, with no consultation with their colleagues within Railtrack, nor with HBC as the operational decision to move the compound from one piece of Railtrack land to another did not require planning permission.
So much for history. The fact remains that this route is crucial to the overall Greenway concept, so HBC and Network Rail (successors to Railtrack) need to find a satisfactory solution.
Network Rail have informally confirmed that there is no operational reason why the Maintenance Compound should occupy it’s present site. It is merely the result of past expediency and a subsequent resistance to change. There are other sites within, or close to, Hastings that might be suitable for relocation of the compound. Indeed, there is the possibility that Network Rail might shortly undertake a review of maintenance requirements within the South East, which might remove the need for a compound within the Hastings area. Either way, given a will to progress the earlier draft agreement between HBC and Railtrack (now Network Rail) a solution could be found.