MP at opening of new Hassocks station
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert attended the opening of the new railway station building at Hassocks on Friday (5 July).
The new building was formally opened by Mrs Catherine Cassidy, Chairman of the Hassocks Amenity Association Rail Group in front of a gathering of local people who have been involved with the project.
Hassocks is the first station to benefit from the latest design available from Network Rail, replacing the old 1970s building which was in great need of updating and no longer served the purpose of an increasingly popular station.
The new station building includes a much larger and brighter ticket hall, sofa seating, a touch screen information terminal and cash machine. The coffee stand, which was previously a mobile unit outside of the station, will now be located in a unit inside the new building.
The lifts, underpass and finishing touches around the station will be completed by December.
The building and the upgrade of the station was funded by the Department of Transport's National Stations Improvement Programme (NSIP) and Access for All scheme.
The Hassocks Amenity Association Rail Group has lobbied hard for a new station over a number of years, and its Chairman Catherine Cassidy has worked closely with the scheme's project leaders to ensure that the views of the community were known.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Catherine said that it was a landmark day for Hassocks. She praised the efforts of the late Councillor Gina Field who was the founding member of the Association and responsible for beginning the process of campaigning for a new building at the station.
The Hassocks Amenity Association received news in 2009 that they had been accepted on the National Stations Improvements Programme (NSIP). They worked closely with Network Rail and Southern Railway on the design of the building to ensure that the station was a fitting gateway to the South Downs National Park.
Catherine said: "The station is fit for the future and will welcome our visitors, meet the requirements of our commuters, fulfil the expectation of our young people and be in tune with the needs of our older residents. It is a dream come true."
Chris Burchell, Managing Director of Southern Railway, opened the speeches and thanked all the people involved with the project. He said: "This is a new chapter for the station, and a new chapter for the village. We now have a station building which is fit for purpose and will serve the community well."
Simon Chapman, Route Enhancement Manager from Network Rail said: "This is a brilliant example of the industry working well together and engaging with the community."
Nick Herbert said: "Local people waited a long time, but at last we have the station which such a large number of commuters and rail users deserve. Catherine Cassidy and the Hassocks Rail Group deserve huge praise for all the work they have done to secure this smart new building for the community."
1. The Hassocks Amenity Association (HAA) is a charitable organisation founded in 1968 and which works in a voluntary capacity to maintain and improve the amenities and facilities of the villages of Hassocks, Keymer and Clayton. In 1999 the HAA formed the Hassocks Rail Group with the aim of improving rail services to and from Hassocks station.
2. For more information about Network Rail's National Stations Improvement Programme please see their website http://www.networkrail.co.uk/nsip/