The village of Cowfold moves one step closer to total car dependency

Back in the 1960s, the Sussex village of Cowfold was a short distance – a couple of miles – from a railway station that could take its residents south to Shoreham and Brighton, or north to Horsham.

That railway station disappeared with the Beeching Axe in 1966, along with the rest of the Steyning line, which connected Horsham directly to the south coast, despite strong evidence that the line was, in fact, profitable – or at least, certainly could be. (The closure of this line now means that if I want to travel from Horsham to Brighton by train, I have to journey north-east towards Gatwick Airport, and change at Three Bridges to catch a southbound train, a total journey time of around an hour, which compares poorly with the half an hour it would take to make the journey by car).

Fast forward to 2011, and the two thousand or so inhabitants of Cowfold are now dependent upon either local buses, or their cars, if they have them, to make journeys to Horsham, a distance of around six miles, or to Haywards Heath, eight miles away. (I don’t count the bicycle as a reasonable way of making either of these journeys – going to Horsham from Cowfold involves using the A281, a twisty single-carriageway road, much of it with a 60 mph limit, that I tend to avoid as much as I can when I am out on my bicycle. Likewise, the journey to Haywards Heath would necessitate the use of the similarly cycling-hostile A272.)

So – in short – if you live in Cowfold, and don’t have access to a car, the bus is your only option to get anywhere. And now

Villagers say they will be cut off if councillors press ahead with controversial plans to axe their bus service. Cowfold residents have launched a determined bid to persuade West Sussex County Council not to scrap the 86 bus as part of its cost-cutting measures. The 86 serves Horsham, Southwater, West Grinstead, Partridge Green, Shermanbury, Cowfold, Bolney, Ansty, Cuckfield, including Warden Park School, and Haywards Heath, including the Princess Royal Hospital. The service was one of dozens highlighted by The Resident as being recommended for removal by a cross-party group of councillors, originally in September, but now scheduled for October.

More here, with the comment

If these cuts go ahead, a lot of people’s lives are going to be made more difficult. They just won’t be able to get to work, school or college – or will have to pay through the nose to do so. I bet none of the people making the decisions ever use a bus, which is why they just don’t care. They exist purely in their own little Tory lala land of Range Rovers and taxi trips on expenses and have no idea how the rest of us live.

I get the distinct impression that West Sussex County Council doesn’t really give two figs about anyone who doesn’t have a driving licence, or would like to make journeys by any means other than a car. That means children, who, if this plan goes ahead, will be reliant upon their parents ferrying them everywhere by car – if they have one. Or those who cannot drive, or don’t want to – a significant portion of the elderly population.

All these people are one step closer to being trapped in Cowfold.

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This entry was posted in Car dependence, Road safety, Town planning, West Sussex County Council. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The village of Cowfold moves one step closer to total car dependency

  1. Jim Davis says:

    At least the residents of Cowfold will be able to read the West Sussex LTP3 whilst having their freedom curtailed further. They might laugh even more than i did when I read it which would be quite a feat.

  2. Reading WSCC’s LTP3 gives the game away: our council is completely fixated on motor vehicles and building motorways. They don’t seem to have heard that increasing petrol prices and reducing bus services are causing their electorate serious transport problems.

    The odd thing is that LTP stands for Local Transport Plan. What percentage of local journeys in West Sussex make use of the A27 and the A23, the top two things the LTP3 wants to invest in?

  3. Pingback: West Sussex County Council member for Highways and Transport, Lionel Barnard, admits that Sussex roads are lethal for children attempting to cycle to school | As Easy As Riding A Bike

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