Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 15:48 UK

Council fights rail service cuts

Hastings council said the changes could damage the area's economy

Planned cuts to train services between Hastings and London could seriously damage the economy in East Sussex, Hastings council has said.

The authority has said Network Rail's latest strategy benefits everybody other than Hastings line commuters.

If plans go ahead, Hastings will lose direct rush hour services to and from Cannon Street, and Charing Cross trains will be shorter, the council added.

In response, Network Rail said all plans were still under consultation.

Council leader Peter Pragnell said: "If our services were cut from 2015 it would have the most serious consequences for the economy of Hastings, Bexhill, Battle and the surrounding village communities.

"It would threaten to nullify the huge value of national and European investment already made here."

'Bigger and better'

Proposed changes to train services are set out in Network Rail's Route Utilisation Strategy for Kent, which includes parts of East Sussex.

Network Rail route director Andrew Munden said: "The development of a robust strategy to improve the railway is an important part of our role.

"Feedback we get as part of the consultation process will play an important part in shaping the future."

He said Network Rail was proposing a bigger and better railway in Kent and East Sussex, and high speed services in Kent would bring "immediate benefits" in December.

Councillor Pragnell has urged anyone affected by the changes to respond to the consultation by 23 July.


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