Is Eastbourne’s Kings Drive wide enough for bus lane?

Kings Drive

Kings Drive

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A HUGE road development could cause traffic chaos around the DGH as East Sussex County Council looks to add a bus lane to the already busy Kings Drive.

It was revealed in Wednesday’s edition of the Gazette that the local authority plans to widen much of the stretch, which used to be the main road in and out of Eastbourne, in a bid to reduce congestion at peak times.

No concrete plans will be drawn up until early next year – after the council has carried out what it describes as “one of the biggest consultations carried out in Eastbourne”.

During this time the council will quiz locals where and if a bus lane is suitable.

The total planning process could take as long as 18 months and, should the scheme get the green light, there are fears locally that subsequent work will lead to lengthy delays spread over weeks and months.

County Hall said it will involve Eastbourne Borough Council and bus operator Stagecoach in the coming weeks, but nobody at the local authority seemed to know anything about the scheme.

One local councillor, who lives on Kings Drive, said he would reserve total judgment until he could cast his eye over the meat on the bones.

However, Councillor Coin Belsey did question whether there was even room to accommodate a bus lane along much of the busy road.

And that concern has been echoed by local residents since the news broke.

Herald reader Kim Chapman summed up much of the feedback when she said, “I am wondering how they would achieve this (bus lane) as to me the road is not wide enough to allow for it.”

Other locals have asked whether the council might be better off looking at ways of improving the existing road, rather than adding an extra lane.

They argue that the real traffic problems only really occur during peak times when parents of youngsters at local schools are either dropping off or picking up their offspring.

And, as always with these sort of projects, the issue of money is likely to rear its head as forthcoming budgets are revealed over the coming weeks.

A spokesman for East Sussex County Council promised, “Everyone will get the chance to have their say on the proposals during the consultation process in January.

“We want as many people as possible to get involved and tell us about their experiences of Kings Drive.”

Residents will get their first chance to comment early next month, with details of exhibitions and information days to be revealed in the Herald.

Kings Drive has a history of congestion and there is also the possibility that land near the hospital could be developed into a plot for up to 150 new homes after planning permission was granted – a move which would add yet more traffic to the area.

What do you think of the plans? Is a bus lane a good idea?

Email us your thoughts to eastbourne.herald@trbeckett.co.uk.