On Monday (April 11), Cllr Claire Dowling, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for transport and environment, agreed that a planned improvement scheme in the town’s High Street could move forward to a detailed design phase.
This final scheme would include improved pavements and bus stops, changes to an existing cycle route and measures to lower the speed limit to 20mph.
While broadly welcomed by councillors present at the meeting, some argued that the scheme should aim to go further. These councillors included ward councillor Daniel Shing (Independent Democrat), who raised concerns about anti-social parking in the area and Wealden’s lack of decriminalised parking enforcement.
He said: “Many feel the proposals are a good start, but there are a lot of issues as you can see identified such as speeding and parking, that need a lot of addressing.
“The problem with them will be the regulatory enforcement aspect, which is mainly police and the district council that can enforce on. Again it is a case of if we have got restrictions, how can they be enforced and for them to be effective?
“On the issue of parking, it does seem to be worse than before, mainly in the evenings. That is mainly because of the increased demand on takeaway food outlets because of Uber Eats and Deliveroo and things like that.”
Despite these concerns, Cllr Shing added that he was ‘overall very supportive of the scheme’.
Others present argued that the council should seek to introduce 20mph limits on surrounding residential roads as well.
Officers, however, argued this would require a significant amount of additional work beyond the scope of the proposed scheme. Even so, they said the scheme would not prevent further 20mph limits on surrounding roads in future.
Following discussion, Cllr Dowling agreed that the proposals will move ahead to a detailed design phase, with funding expected to be made available as part of this year’s funding cycle.
When implemented, the new speed limit is expected to stretch across the entirety of the High Street, between the Hailsham Road mini-roundabout and its junction with Eastbourne Road.
The decision follows on from a public consultation on the proposals in November last year, although officers noted an unusually low response rate.
According to council papers, more than 6,000 leaflets were distributed to local properties informing residents of the proposals and the consultation. Despite this only 104 people responded, with 59 in support, 33 against and 12 undecided.