Further delays to completion of Hastings' Queensway Gateway roadbuilding project

The timeline of a much delayed Hastings road-building project has slipped again, according to a report set to be discussed next week.

In a report to be considered on Friday (May 27), members of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) accountability board are to be updated on the Queensway Gateway Road.

According to a report to be discussed by the board, the road, which would connect Queensway to the A21 (Sedlescombe Road North), is not expected to open until this autumn at the earliest. The board had previously been told the road was expected to open this summer.

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However, the report also says the timeline for resolving the outstanding issues with the project remains ‘unclear’.

Whitworth Road/Junction Road, Hastings (Google Maps Streetview)

Originally slated for completion by November 2016, the project has been beset by a series of delays. The majority of the road was completed in March 2019, but the final section, connecting it to Sedlescombe Road North, has so far remained unfinished.

It was originally planned to create a new roundabout at this end of the road, but, despite what is understood to be several years of negotiation, Sea Change Sussex has so far been unable to secure the land necessary to build this out.

Alternative plans would see a traffic-light controlled junction between Sedlescombe Road North and the Queensway Gateway Road instead.

It is this proposal which has seen the latest setbacks arise. The SELEP report says road safety concerns were raised when detailed designs for this junction were submitted in November.

As a result, design amendments are required, details of which have yet to be submitted to East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and National Highways for sign off. The report says the timeline for these details being submitted are ‘unclear’.

In light of this, the report recommends that the board request confirmation from ESCC on how they are holding Sea Change Sussex to account to mitigate against further slippage.

The traffic-light controlled junction will also require a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) banning vehicles from parking in Whitworth Road.

This TRO would require a public consultation, which would take between six to eight weeks from the date ESCC receives the necessary documentation from Sea Change. According to the report, this documentation has yet to be received.

Should these problems be resolved on time, the report says, the construction work would be expected to begin in ‘early autumn 2022’ and take eight weeks from there.

While this traffic-light controlled junction has previously been described as a temporary solution, the latest SELEP report also discusses whether it should be made the permanent and final connection.

Even so, a decision would not be made until the junction has been completed and open, in an effort to avoid prejudicing the potential of acquiring the land through a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO).

As a result, it is intended for the project to be reviewed after six months after the road opens to see whether the junction is functioning adequately and, if so, potentially changing the original terms of the scheme.