In response to Derrick Coffee of the ’Campaign for Better Transport’ he is wrong to think that proposals for upgrading the A27 have been considered ‘in a vacuum’.
In addition to the 1,046 people across East Sussex who responded to a recent Chamber survey telling us that the county really needs to upgrade the A27, there is plenty of analysis showing this road is long overdue. We have considered carefully future growth identified in Local Authority Plans and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Strategic Economic Plan and these show that the current A27 does not have the capacity to handle the growth planned for East Sussex. In the Polegate/Hailsham area alone there are 10,000 homes planned and 4,400 jobs which will put additional pressure on buses, rail and the A27. The 2013 traffic figures for the A27/A22 Cophall Roundabout show almost 29,000 vehicle movements daily from Monday to Friday. These figures are not far short of the dualled Lewes By-Pass which carries 35,680 vehicles per day and are the sort of figures at which the Highways Agency would consider dualling a road. t is not accurate to say that we are only focused on roads and don’t invest in alternative types of travel. In fact, the County has secured over £20m from the Local Growth Fund for the economic development of the Eastbourne/South Wealden area. This includes £8.7m for the Eastbourne/South Wealden Walking & Cycling Package; £6m for Eastbourne town centre movement and access package; £2m for the Eastbourne/Polegate/Hailsham sustainable transport corridor and £4m for A22/A27 junction improvements. With funding from other sources on top, the total Eastbourne/South Wealden investment relating to these 4 schemes is around £30m. In addition, investment of around £3m is planned for Uckfield to improving walking, cycling and bus access into the town centre and about £1.5m for Hailsham for walking, cycling and bus access schemes too. While it would be great if this could solve the need for car travel, the car is with us in one form or another for some time to come and we need to plan for it rather than wish it away. So, in contrast to Mr Coffee’s assertions, plenty of analysis has been done to improve integrated travel across East Sussex including cycling, walking, buses and vehicles on the A27. If you would like to complete the ACES Survey about the A27 go to www.acesalliance.org/aces-blog