It is good news that the government has allocated funds to improve the A27 east of Lewes.
This road was recognised by government in the sixties as an important trunk road known as the “Folkestone to Honiton”. Today it should be recognised as the “Ashford to Honiton”.
The green lobby argue that travellers should go by bus or rail, but they forget that tradesmen and lorries also have to use this road. While I would support the greater use of rail freight, it is neither practical nor economic to send freight by rail for distances under 200 miles.
The green lobby also forget that traffic subjected to “stop-go” creates more pollution than if it proceeds at a steady pace. Also traffic from the west of the county bound for the channel tunnel usually use the M25 instead of struggling along the A27 or through the lanes of East Sussex.
Towns and cities, which have good transport facilities, have prospered over time immemorial. Good examples of this are the wealthy cities along the Rhine and the Danube or which have good seaport facilities such as Singapore or New York.
There is no doubt that Hastings and Eastbourne have suffered for lack of good roads. Eastbourne may have a good rail service but Hastings does not. The government has committed funds to improve roads and railways across the country, despite the problems with the economy.
Regarding the improvements to the A27, the government has decided to consult the public on the optimum way of improving the A27.
I strongly believe that it would be wrong to try and titivate the existing route. Not only would it cause serious disruption to an already overloaded road, but it would be much more cost effective to build a new dual carriage road between Beddingham and Polegate following the route of the existing railway with a small diversion at Berwick. By following the alignment of the railway, the new road would not create another break across the landscape, I would suggest that this proposed road should not have an access point at Berwick in order to discourage further traffic through Alfriston.
This new road would not be in the National Park and the visual impact could be minimised by suitable tree planting. The existing road could then be downgraded to provide access to the villages and the National Park.
It is most unfortunate that the Lewes MP has consistently resisted any improvements to this road. He reluctantly accepted the removal of the level crossing at Beddingham and he now seems to recognise that there may be a problem at Selmeston. However the MP for Eastbourne and other MPs in the area clearly want to see the improvements take place. The residents in Seaford, Newhaven, Peacehaven and Ringmer all suffer from additional traffic through their towns and villages due to congestion on the A27.
I look forward to the official consultation, which I hope starts imminently, and I hope as many people as possible respond and take the above comments into account.