A NEW bus service linking the Roebuck Park development in Hellingly to Hailsham and Eastbourne started on Sunday.
This is one of the infrastructure improvements linked to the major redevelopment of the Hellingly Hospital site.
About 400 new homes are being built on part of the hospital site and developers Persimmon Homes and Charles Church provided the funding costs through a Section 106 planning agreement to enable East Sussex County Council and bus operator Stagecoach to provide a bus service.
The half hourly weekday 1A service which terminated in Hailsham town centre now includes Roebuck Park.
There are four additional buses per hour through the northern Hailsham/Horsebridge/Hellingly area.
The Sunday service between Hailsham and Eastbourne has increased to provide a bus every 30 minutes.
“The new bus service from the estate is an integral part of the infrastructure improvements necessary to make it sustainable,” said Cllr Roy Galley, Cabinet portfolio-holder for Planning and Development, at Wealden District Council.
“Such improvements can only be delivered once families start to move in. I’m delighted that each of the different partners has been so willing to overcome hurdles for the project to succeed.”
The change is thanks to the combined efforts of number of organisations including East Sussex County Council, Hellingly Parish Council, Persimmon Homes/Charles Church Developments, Stagecoach and Wealden District Council.
“Progressively over the years local bus services had been cut back and eventually withdrawn altogether with the result that prior to the commencement of development at Roebuck Park there was no regular bus service in this part of Hellingly Parish,” said Cllr David White, chairman of Hellingly Parish Council.
“Now with the monies provided by Persimmon Homes and Charles Church it has been possible to provide a regular frequent service linking the new development, and improving the service in Hellingly Parish and north Hailsham, to Hailsham town centre.”
Cllr Carl Maynard, East Sussex County Council’s Lead Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, said: “We want to improve transport access and I’m sure the new residents of Roebuck Park, as well as those in the wider area, will welcome the opportunities opened to them through this considerable upgrade to the bus network.”
Jeremy Cooper, Commercial Director of Stagecoach, said. “We are pleased to have been awarded the tender for the new service and will look to develop it to ensure it’s an economically sustainable addition to our network of bus routes in the Hailsham and Eastbourne area.
“It’s very positive that it offers an improved service to people in Hailsham, as well as the residents of the new development.”
Persimmon Homes/Charles Church Developments have modified the road layout to provide a suitable bus turning space and bus stops within the new housing development.
“The service is part of our wider commitment to the local area, where we have provided substantial funding for improvements to local schools, library, roads and the creation of cycle routes,” said Persimmon Homes South East’s managing director Richard Matthews.
“There will be a number of bus stops throughout the development and new and existing residents of Roebuck Park will receive a booklet detailing the bus routes and timetable, along with free incentive vouchers for the bus service.”
East Sussex Bus User Group co-ordinator Jackie Evans said: “In this age of motor vehicles we are keen to encourage more people out of their cars and onto public transport and new bus services like this.
“This can only be good news for everyone. It will mean less traffic congestion, cleaner air and an overall better environment.”
For details see www.stagecoachbus.com/eastsussex
For reaction to the new service from a Park Road resident, see this week’s Sussex Express.