LETTER: Why was bypass plan binned?

Trying to get through Newhaven by road in the rush ‘hour’ these days is slow and laborious but it is not a new phenomenon.

How many of your readers can remember that in 1970 the local council/East Sussex County Council delivered a two-page flyer leaflet to the local residents about the problem, which then was mainly due to the fact that all traffic passing through Newhaven went through the middle of the town with congestion further exacerbated when the swing bridge and/or the level crossing were closed.

The problem had arisen because the road network in and around the town had evolved in early Victorian times when the present day problems could not have been foreseen.

The solution was to discuss, evaluate and decide which one of three schemes put before them should be carried out.

The schemes were a High Level relief road on a viaduct across the Valley, a Low Level relief road consisting of the ring road around the town centre and a northern bypass which took through traffic away from the town completely.

The evaluation of each proposal took account of six factors: environmental, social, financial, traffic engineering, planning and strategic objectives. Each of those factors was then considered on two further factors: cost and points, where the higher the points scored the better the proposed route.

The evaluation and decision on which of the alternative schemes would be carried out had apparently already been made when the leaflets were distributed and it would seem the die was already cast.

These were the published results of the deliberations: Northern Bypass: Dual two lane, £4,750,000, points 6797; High Level Relief Road: Dual three lane, £6,300,000, points 4459; Low level Relief Road: dual three lane, £6,000,000, points 3720.

So it would appear that the Northern Bypass would be the obvious choice. With no through traffic in the town, least cost, and greatest number of points scored.

But no! The choice decided upon was the Low Level Relief Ring Road around the town with the second highest cost and the least number of points.

At this point it might be worth noting that in the leaflet, the council had stated that the trouble was that the problems in 1970 could not have been foreseen by the Victorians.

Well it would appear that the same could be said to have applied in 1970 when the obvious choice of a Northern ByPass was thrown in the bin.

Richard Beckett

Newhaven