Having looked at what is proposed, I find it amazing that the works are programmed for some nine months duration.
It essentially consists of re-aligning a few kerbs, tinkering with parking spaces and, no doubt, laying some fancy paving.
I expect there is a plethora of ‘utility services’ to be moved, but this is normal with town centre construction and can be sensibly programmed.
As a professional Civil Engineer, I spent most of my career undertaking major underground works through congested urban areas, requiring road closures and diversions while keeping the community open for business.
I do not believe, therefore, that the timetable for the works in Hailsham could not be considerably shorter.
I assume the works are being managed by ESCC as the Highway Authority.
I would therefore ask the County Surveyor (or whatever he is now called) what options were asked for in the tendering process to minimise time and disruption? From my experience, these issues are just as important as bottom-line costs when working in the public domain. I am, of course, assuming there was a tendering process and the works not just given to the current Term Contractor.
Perhaps the problem is that the works seem to be ‘managed’ by ESCC alongside a number of ‘Partners’ with a variety of titles, consisting of local councillors and other apparently interested parties. A recipe for disaster when running contracts, everyone wants a say but no-one wants to take responsibility!
I assume these people are fully qualified Highway Engineers.
I would also ask how the proposals will regenerate Hailsham Town Centre?
I don’t believe it will attract more ‘proper’ shops if the overall traffic management for the area is not addressed, particularly with the large amount of new housing generating even more congestion.
I would suggest that the available funding would be better spent, inter alia, on the following to improve traffic flow:
– Remove parking on London Road between the old railway bridge and Battle Road junction, which severely reduces the available road width.
– Re-design the London Road / Battle Road junction to prevent right turning traffic turning into Battle Road from holding up straight through traffic.
– Re-design the South Road / Ersham Road / Diplocks Way junction to reduce the severe congestion.
– Persuade Tesco to relinquish a small section of their car park in North Street to allow the provision of a bus lay-by and prevent waiting buses from blocking one lane.
I am sure that with the profit Tesco must be making from Hailsham this would be good public relations for them.
I shall watch the works unfold with interest.
David Bone C Eng. MICE