Group formed to keep High Speed Rail on track

On Thursday 25 February, Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye, convened the inaugural meeting of the High Speed Rail Working Group.

Amber commented: “This is such an important issue for this area, so it is only right that local MPs, councils and business groups should come together to give this campaign the best chance of succeeding.”

At the meeting, held in Westminster, the Group discussed the steps needed to bring High Speed services from London to Rye, Hastings and Bexhill. 

Network Rail presented to the Group on the line and station improvements needed to bring about High Speed, and they also set out how services on the Marshlink could be improved in the interim period.

The Group resolved to campaign for the realisation of this ambition with a strong and unified voice, as its members signed a joint letter to Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, to this effect. 

Amber added: “Everyone left the meeting with a strong sense of what is required to bring about this vision, which would provide a fantastic and unrivalled opportunity to attract investment and to turbocharge our area’s ongoing regeneration.”

“I was pleased with what I heard from Network Rail, and me and my colleagues in the Group will be pushing hard to make sure these plans are reflected in spending commitments in the next investment period for the first stages of the High Speed project.”

Photo: Amber is pictured with the attendees of the first Working Group meeting: 

(Standing, from left to right)
• Kevin Boorman (Hastings Borough Council)
• Sean Dennis (Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce)
• Howard Martin (Bexhill Chamber of Commerce and Tourism)
• Cllr Ian Hollidge (Rother District Council)
• Tony Leonard (Rother District Council)
• Rupert Clubb (East Sussex County Council)
• Jon Wheeler (East Sussex County Council)
• Cllr Peter Chowney (Hastings Borough Council)

(Seated, from left to right)
• Ray Chapman (East Sussex Rail Alliance)
• Huw Merriman MP
• John Shaw (Sea Change Sussex)
• Amber Rudd MP
• Graham Peters (South East LEP)
• Adam Love (Network Rail)
• Paul Best (Network Rail)