I read Cllr Peck’s article a few weeks ago with a rising sense of incredulity.
This man, who I had not heard of until your article, claims to represent me as a member of the Long Man parish. He states that the plans for a new road have been suggested without any prior discussion, and then proceeds to decry them... without any prior discussion!
These plans have been around for longer than I have been alive and from my intimate knowledge of the road, the need for a multi-carriageway between the end of the Polegate bypass and the start of the dual carriageway at Lewes becomes more and more of a necessity.
I am not sure which rush hour Cllr Peck has been in, but as someone who looks through their windows at the stationary traffic (and occasionally has the boring inevitability of sitting in it), I can assure him that an ordinary rush hour journey from Polegate to Firle does not take 15mins. Further, this is a moot point as no-one travels to Firle and the works done at Beddingham are no longer working.
The queues back towards the Firle straight and the Kingston roundabout every morning and evening are nearly back to pre-works scale. Much as it would be lovely to avoid this madness and take the train from Eastbourne to Lewes, most of the traffic I travel with goes far further than that. The patronising signs put up by Norman Baker are merely an annoying reminder that his views on the A27 are formed from being able to walk to a train station at either end of his journey. Most of us are not so lucky. As for the Green spokesman reported last year in your paper as saying that there was not a problem on this stretch of road, I can only assume he was viewing it before 5.30 in the morning or after 10.30 at night and definitely not on a weekend or Bank Holiday, which are now as bad as rush hour, but all day.
On a more serious note than the pure inconvenience of travel, my study looks over the A27 and I am well into double figures for the serious accidents at which I have assisted, directly outside my house. I watch with a sense of impending doom as cyclists, walkers, drivers and especially horse riders try to cross or join the A27. Road statisticians do not assess or count near-misses so therefore miss out countless potentially fatal incidents in their planning assumptions. As someone who is a medical professional, near-misses to me are a warning that practices are amiss, therefore I watch with a sense of fatalistic dismay every time I see one. This situation is replicated along the length of this dreadful single carriageway road.
The secondary annoyance for me as a local is the on/off nature of this project. My neighbour has now had compulsory purchase threatened five times over the decades. We have had multiple occasions of the stress of planners looking to put safe-lane junctions/roundabouts by our house (a mere sticking plaster on the festering sore that is this problem). Consequently, we cannot justify the expense of investing in our property, since this would undoubtedly not be returned in the event of a compulsory purchase.
However, should the powers that be decide that our house must go, then I for one would be happy to make that sacrifice, in order to finally have this project started soon. Please, let’s look at this realistically: before starting his hysterical decrying of a new road ruining the National Park, perhaps Cllr Peck would like to look at the roads done in Wales or Cumbria. Beautiful sweeping bends and sympathetic landscaping have not ruined the views from the Brecon Beacons/Lakes, for instance, but have immeasurably improved access and safety. There is no end in sight for the increase in housing and hence cars in the overcrowded south east. This road is well overdue.