Playing politics with road safety

I write in response to Mike Richards’ rather peevish response to my inquiry as to his political allegiance and motives over the issue of the A27 East of Lewes.

For all his blustering about not supporting the Conservatives and never wishing to hold political office for them, he condemns a local Conservative district councillor (Charles Peck) who has been elected twice to represent his constituents, most of whom would be affected by any proposals to alter the A27, while claiming that the local Conservatives speak “as one voice”.

His Conservative friends also in the recent past advocated an increase in the speed limits on dual-carriageways to 80 mph. That may still be Party policy. Perhaps Mr Richards could tell us how that measure as applied to a new countryside road “promotes public safety” (his words).

While the A27 may be a trunk road, it is clear – I pointed it out in this paper as far back as 2003 while a Lewes district councillor – that the county council has adopted a negative policy towards agreeing to urgent improvements to the parallel coastal A259 along the approaches to Seaford, including the key Exceat river crossing, simply because they wish as much through traffic as possible to be “forced” onto the A27.

As I said at the time, this is playing politics with people’s safety on this key stretch; there have been several fatal and serious accidents in recent years on or near to the Exceat bridge. Traffic lights or similar improvements, and a limited widening of the road up Seaford Hill would have in my view prevented that carnage to a significant degree.

As a councillor I signed declarations over my profession (I am now retired) and property ownership; that is called a “declaration of interest”.

Perhaps Mike Richards believes as a member of the public he does not have to. My letter last time (unfortunately slightly edited) sought only for his clarification that as a land-owner in the area, he did not have a personal interest in any land which would have to be acquired for the new dual-carriageway north of the present A27, that he has advocated so eloquently in these columns over recent years.

Bob Brown