I have been a LibDem voter since Norman Baker’s election to Parliament in 1997, and I will be voting for him again on 7th May, however I have to take issue with him and his colleagues’ proposal to make changes to the one-way system in Newhaven.
Norman says these changes will ‘end the pounding of heavy vehicles past houses along South Way’ and while this is obviously correct, it only affects a dozen or so houses and two small blocks of flats. However diverting this traffic along North Way will mean an increase in ‘the pounding of heavy vehicles’ past all the residents of Bridge Court, Riverside Court, a handful of houses and a few other small blocks of flats. So while one set of residents would gain, another set of residents would lose.
I would also like to know exactly how South Way will be made a ‘local access road’. Unless this road is physically blocked at some point between Riverside and Brighton Road, it will become a rat-run to avoid the inevitable queues which will have resulted along North Way. If South Way is physically blocked, then this will mean most traffic coming from the south side of the town intending to head west will be forced to go around past the bridge and into North Way, merging with traffic coming from Seaford/Denton and adding to the rush hour queues. Either that or it will meander through various residential streets to get to Brighton Road by another route, thus causing an increase in traffic for the residents of these roads.
Norman also says the changes will ‘slow traffic along North Way’. This is madness! Traffic queues at peak times are atrocious heading west though the town aleady, often tailing back to – and sometimes past – the roundabout at Denton Corner. If this traffic is slowed even more then who knows how far back the queue will stretch. This will also have a knock-on effect to New Road, Avis Road and the retail areas of Drove Road, plus causing residents who live in the south side of the town (who would use South Way as a residential access road) to be stuck in the longer queues along the A259. Also, any residents of the Valley estate coming from the Seaford/Denton direction will have to wait to turn right into Lewes Road, thus causing more traffic chaos, unless by some miracle a roundabout can be configured into this junction, which seems highly unlikely given the lay of the land.
I do not see any real benefit to the town centre coming from this plan as most people who intend to go there already do so with no difficulty with the current road system. And to those who will say we have to try something and support this scheme I would just ask; what happens if you are wrong and traffic does grind to a halt after these proposed changes? Will East Sussex County Council pay for the road to be changed back to how it is now? Or will we be stuck with a situation even worse than we have already?