Playing politics with road safety

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We should all be extremely grateful to Cllr Rosalyn St Pierre (letters March 1st) for drawing our attention to the attempt by East Sussex County Council to impose a further tranche of dual-carriageway on the beautiful landscape bordering the National Park betwen Beddingham and Polegate.

This seems to reflect the belief of some people in Eastbourne that the reason for its slow decline as a business centre has been down to the lack of a race-track road beween the town and the rest of the country.

As someone who has lived mostly in East Sussex since 1978, I have been witness to this recurring call for a dual carriageway.

In the same time span, successive county councils, supported by unsympathetic administrations in Eastbourne Town Hall, have allowed key public transport in Eastbourne and its hinterland to deteriorate.

As a result, the town centre has lost out to better-accessed shopping centres like Brighton.

Cynically, when the boundaries of the South Downs National Park were finally drawn, they included vast swathes of land in Hampshire which are far from the chalk downland, but the boundary in East Sussex, the iconic heart of the park, runs for much of its length along the southern boundary of the A27. In other words, widening the road to the north would not infringe into the national park, therefore any development that East Sussex County Council might be planning between (say) the A27 and the parallel railway line would also lie outside the park boundary.

Having fought against the idea of a national park, local Conservative administrations made sure that its creation could not hinder their development plans.

Meanwhile the present road surface along the A27 is allowed to deteriorate into a state where road accidents are more likely to occur, and therefore the statistics to suport a dual-cariageway will “improve”.

In my view, the county council is playing politics here with road safety.

Bob Brown