A22 upgrade: There is no correlation between transport needs and housing plans

The A22
The A22

The improvement plan from Transport for the South East (TfSE), includes the Hailsham – Eastbourne A22 corridor and lists one new roundabout and four others.

TfSE explains: “The demand for travel generated by planned development in south Wealden will increase pressure on the existing transport network in the area.”

The existing transport network is already under pressure – from car-based developments permitted by the local planning authority without compliance with government guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to secure walking, cycling and public transport provision for new housing developments.

Put simply, there is currently a severe lack of integration between the transport authority (ESCC) and the planning authority (Wealden) and only piecemeal efforts at traffic reduction: the NPPF is ineffective.

For this reason, and in the hope that the inevitable costly chaos we now see worsening day by day will be a thing of the past, we have suggested that TfSE takes on a ‘land use’ planning role to inform decisions and fully integrate ‘transport’ with ‘land use’ so avoiding unhealthy, anti-social ‘car dependent’ developments which blot the landscape and destroy habitats.

We note that ‘Transport for New Homes’ has published a ‘checklist’ for planning and transport authorities – available on their website.

We would like to see those in the south east signing up to its principles aimed at reducing traffic and avoiding damaging car-based developments.

Completely absent from the A22 scheme is any reference to essential public transport measures (bus priority and service enhancement), or measures supporting walking and cycling along the Hailsham-Polegate-Willingdon corridor, in development since 2007. (Or Stone Cross station, planned in c1985!).

Alongside multiple declarations of a ‘climate emergency’ by local authorities, talk of road schemes in isolation from consideration of transport in a ‘multi-modal’ and ‘land use’ context is at best irrelevant and at worst irresponsible.

This, of course, applies equally to mono-modal ideas such as an off-line A27.

Derrick Coffee

County officer, Campaign for Better Transport – East Sussex,

Mayfield Place,

Eastbourne