Exercise extreme caution near wall

From: Dr Barry Snape, Mayo Lane, Bexhill

Residents should be aware that the 3.5m high wall separating the station from the narrow (1.5m) pedestrian walkway and the carriageway on Station Road is in an extremely dangerous state of disrepair.

The larger area of concern is towards the centre of the stretch of wall affected, opposite the motor repair garage towards the Town Hall end of Station Road, and only a few paces from the Bexhill Youth Centre.

Here, a horizontal fault is present, beginning at roughly 35cm above pavement level and rising Eastwards to roughly 1.8m over a length of 5.5m. The horizontal fault then meets a vertical fault which rises towards the top of the wall. More severe, vertical faults rise on both sides of the central faults, extending over the greater part of the height of the wall.

Both the horizontal and vertical components of the central faults show evidence of expansion strips having been present, but these have clearly separated and fallen away some time ago. All of the faults described above have been crudely disguised with colour matched silicone filler.

In profile, the wall shows clear evidence of bowing and sagging in the direction of the pedestrian walkway and the carriageway.

The wall is constructed from the old, heavy ‘engineering’ bricks, and so a considerable tonnage of masonry is set to fall upon Station Road when (not if) the vibration from through trains finally causes the structure to fail. For good measure, the wall is barbarously capped with shards of broken bottles (an offensive weapon, under Criminal Law), in the lavish Edwardian style, such that any surviving casualties can expect to be thoroughly lacerated and mutilated.

I shall be calling upon the Head of Environmental Services and Licensing at Rother District Council to seek an urgent assessment of this wall by a suitably qualified structural engineer, and to initiate proceedings for criminal negligence against those responsible for maintenance of the wall, liaising with the Health and Safety Executive, where necessary.

I shall also be calling upon the director of communities economy and transport at East Sussex County Council to consider the need for warning signs, coning and/or road closure while the necessary reconstruction and/or repair is carried out.

In the meantime, while our councils squabble over who is responsible for the urgent enforcement action required to address a predictable and preventable tragedy, I would strongly urge pedestrians and drivers to exercise extreme caution on Station Road.