Railway History

Forest Way Park. In 1971 East Sussex County Council purchased the railway line to make a Forest Way Country Park. It was resurfaced by Sustrans resulting in a wonderful footpath, cycle route and bridle path linking Groombridge to East Grinstead.

 

 

Hartfield Railway Station and the Stationmasters House were both sold in 1972 after a massive fundraising campaign by parents and friends gaining support from many celebrities to raise money as permanent headquarters for Hartfield toddlers. Playgroups were a new concept by parents affiliated to the Pre- School Playgroups Association. In order to fund the renovations, the adjacent Station Master’s house was sold and in 1976 Jenny Agutter, star of the Railway Children, came along to open the building and a massive party was held. Hartfield Playschool celebrated its 50th Anniversary of existence in 2015.

Sale of the Coalyard – British Rail put the yard up for auction in 2002 and was sold well above the asking price but soon back on the market and purchased by Claverton Holdings developers who were successful in gaining planning permission to convert the goods shed to offices. The yard was shared with a building aggregates company and concern was expressed at the large numbers of lorries so close to the Playschool so when the yard was once again up for sale, having failed to persuade ESCC to buy the yard, Hartfield Parish Council stepped in and made a bid to purchase the land and Goods Shed.

In 2006 their offer was accepted and after considerable efforts to overcome numerous objections from Wealden District Council, planning consent was finally obtained for conversion of the Goods Shed to Hartfield Parish Council’s offices with two flats above for private occupancy plus planning consent for 9 affordable houses.

After protracted further negotiations, contracts were exchanged with Town and Country Housing on the 26th March 2009 who proceeded to build the houses at the Eastern end of the site. Hartfield Parish Council then moved forward with the renovation of the old Goods Shed into the offices and flats above that you see today.

Further more detailed history of the history of the railway can be obtained by logging into the Hartfield History Group’s website. www.hartfieldhistorygroup.org.uk, a new site gradually adding more information.