A27 dual carriageway ‘would be a scar across the countryside’

The A27 near Selmeston, between Lewes and Polegate. Opponents object to a 'motorway-style' road
The A27 near Selmeston, between Lewes and Polegate. Opponents object to a 'motorway-style' road

Plans to turn the A27 between Lewes and Polegate into a dual carriageway would result in “a scar across the countryside”, says a conservation charity.

The Friends of the South Downs has expressed its concerns about the bid for a £450m Government-funded scheme.

A spokesperson said a “motorway-style road” would “destroy the beautiful countryside and be visible from the South Downs National Park.

They said: “It will be a scar across the countryside whether you’re standing on Mount Caburn near Lewes or on Firle Beacon on the South Downs.”

The Friends said spending an estimated £50m per mile was a huge amount of taxpayers’ money just to allow people to drive a bit faster on that stretch of the A27, especially when there are cutbacks in services locally.

The Friends said it supports the ‘in-line’ solution which is estimated to cost £75 million and which would improve the situation along the route for both car drivers and for pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders. Congestion through the villages would also ease, the charity said.

Area District Officer Vic Ient said: ‘’We do not feel the proposed solution would solve the traffic jams which occur almost daily at the two major roundabouts near Lewes, Ashcombe near Kingston and Southerham at the junction with the A26.

“Even after spending the proposed £450 million, these two major traffic congestion areas which cause serious air pollution will still exist. Highways England has not considered any proposals for these roundabouts.

“If the motorway proposal went ahead, would this actually help the economy and the people in Polegate and Eastbourne? I doubt it.

“It might just encourage people to leave their jobs locally and drive to Brighton or even further afield to the Gatwick area. This would then result in further impact, the residential areas in the east just becoming dormitory towns.

“Local businesses in Polegate and Eastbourne could subsequently be affected and this could then lead to even more traffic on the roads and cause even further traffic jams around the A27 towards Brighton, as locals travelled further afield.”

He added: “We would support an integrated view of the transport system across Sussex where there is a serious attempt to reduce our carbon footprint and global warming, which in turn will reduce pollution from cars and HGVs.”