Fears ‘nothing will happen soon’ to improve safety of A259 at Seaford
Calls to lower the speed limit on the A259 in Seaford have been rejected in an East Sussex County Council vote.
The calls came as part of a motion, which also urged the council to hold a road safety study and install safe pedestrian crossings, was discussed by councillors at a full council meeting on Tuesday (March 23).
The motion had been put forward by Liberal Democrat councillors Carolyn Lambert and Darren Grover in February, in light of two recent accidents on the road near the Marine Parade junction.
However, it was opposed by Cllr Claire Dowling, cabinet member for transport and environment, as officers had advised it would be an ineffective use of resources, partly because of cost and partly because other studies are due to look at improving the road.
Cllr Dowling said: “Two large scale studies are already planned or underway that include these junctions.
“The Transport for the South East study looking at strategic intervention following the whole corridor and the council’s A259 corridor study, looking at the more localised interventions for pedestrians, cyclists, public transport as well as congestion and safety measures.
“Both studies will provide evidence to the neighbourhood funding bid and with that bid there is a good possibility that we can actually shorten the timescales that are within the report.”
It was also argued that lowering the road’s speed limit would require engineering works, which were not considered to be as high a priority as works in other parts of the county.
This argument did not convince Cllr Lambert, however, who said: “We need to be honest with the public. It is clear from the lead member’s report that this is a narrative of studies destined for the long grass. A lengthy story of let’s do another study before we actually do anything.”
She added: “Even if the council succeeds in making a successful outline business case to the government in say 2024 to 2025 as the report suggests, then this will only be the start.
“A detailed business case will then be needed and serious amounts of capital funding then be found; 2027 to 2028 sounds much more likely at the earliest.
“Where does this leave residents? Frankly with exactly nothing. In this situation what is achievable so that residents at least get something within the next decade.
“Cllr Grover and I believe that residents deserve, as a minimum, a safe crossing over the A259 in this area. There is unallocated money in the reserve budget which could be used for this purpose.”
In light of opposition, however, Cllr Lambert proposed amending the motion, which would add a call for the council to review its criteria for assessing what road improvements should be funded.
However, this argument failed to win the support of the majority of councillors, with several arguing that paying for improvements on the A259 could impact on other schemes needed elsewhere.
Concerns were also raised around the proposed amendment, with councillors arguing it would be inappropriate for the full council to determine what work the scrutiny committee should take on.
Following further discussion both the motion and the amendment were voted down.
After the meeting, Cllr Lambert said the council would look again at her request for a pedestrian crossing near Bishopstone.
She said: “The County Council tell me that the scheme scored favourably against the benchmark score and will be put forward for a more detailed assessment and inclusion in budget plans. I understand that the crossing proposal will also be included in the County Council’s study for this part of the A259.
“I am very pleased that the County Council has taken the concerns of residents seriously. It is clear that no major road works such as traffic lights or roundabouts will be put in place in this area for a number of years so it is vital that residents have something in the meantime to help them cross this dangerous road.”