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Polegate is a town and civil parish in the Wealden District of East Sussex, England, United Kingdom. It is located five miles (8 km) north of the seaside resort of Eastbourne, and is part of the greater area of that town. Although once a railway settlement, its importance as such has now waned with closures of routes. The parish of Polegate had a population of 8586 on the 2011 census .

Until the coming of the railways in the 1840s, Polegate was a small settlement within the parish of Hailsham. The Roman road from Pevensey to Lewes passed through here, and the turnpike between London and Eastbourne was developed in the 18th century; but it was the opening of the railway between Lewes and Hastings, with later branches to Eastbourne and Hailsham, that meant growth for Polegate. It became a significant junction, with a freight terminal serving both the nearby market town of Hailsham and the local brick making industry. The town grew partly to accommodate the railway employees.

In the 13th century, the Premonstratensian order of monks occupied property in the parish, before they relocated to Bayham Abbey near Lamberhurst. Two buildings remain of that time, Otteham Court and its Chapel.

In the 21st century, with the closure of the line to Hailsham and the once direct route to Hastings, its importance as a railway hub has gone. It remains a road junction, with the erstwhile turnpike now being the A22 road; the junction with the A27 lies within the town boundary.

There are four streets in today’s Polegate named for the Levett family (Levett Close, Levett Road, Levett Avenue and Levett Way). The Anglo-Norman family were early Sussex landowners, and held manors and lands across the county, including Firle, Bodiam, Hollington and elsewhere. The family’s lands were carried into the families of Gildredge (and then to the Davies-Gilbert family of Eastbourne), the Eversfields of St. Leonards-on-Sea, the Ashburnhams, the Chaloners and others.

David Dimbleby (1938– ), TV commentator, included the town as a destination in his 2007 TV series How We Built Britain.

Polegate is located on a ridge in the gap between the Weald to the north and the South Downs. To the east lie the Pevensey Levels, the one time bay now converted into farmland with the build up of the coastal shingle bank during the early Middle Ages. Both the roads and the railway use the gap.

The town is gradually becoming part of the greater Eastbourne conurbation, connecting with Willingdon to the south. Many of the town’s working population work away: either in Eastbourne or Willingdon.

Polegate is split into two wards for local elections, North and South Polegate. North Polegate with 4000 electors is twice the size of South Polegate’s 2000 electors, returning twice as many councillors. The Parish is represented at the lowest tier by Polegate Town Council. Fifteen councillors are elected from the two wards every four years. Public meetings are held monthly at the council chambers in Polegate. The district council for Polegate is Wealden District Council. The next tier of government is the East Sussex County Council with responsibility for education, libraries, social services, civil registration, trading standards and transport. Elections for the County Council are held every four years. For these elections Polegate is combined with Willingdon and East Dean to return two seats. Polegate is represented in the UK Parliament by the Lewes constituency. The current serving MP is the Liberal Democrat Norman Baker who first won the seat in the 1997 general election.

Chaucer Industrial Business Park Estate is located on Dittons Road where the major part of Polegate’s industrial businesses are located[10] apart from that the usual small-town shops and businesses occupying the High Street, including a supermarket), a total of five hair salons, and convenience store.

The tower windmill was built in 1817. It is now a working museum.

The railway arrived in Polegate in 1846, built by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway on the extension from Brighton to Hastings. In 1849 branches extended to Eastbourne and Hailsham (later to Eridge). The line to Hailsham was nicknamed the Cuckoo Line by railway workers. Both that and the direct link to Hastings are now closed. The present Polegate railway station is served by the Southern (train operating company) with regular train services to London, Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings and Ashford International.

The long-distance footpath, the Cuckoo Trail passes through the parish, as does the cycleway route #2.

Polegate is twinned with Saintry-sur-Seine, France, and Appen, Germany.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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