A259 the worst road in Sussex

AS the battle continues to stop the transfer of acute maternity service to Hastings, the route which would be faced by mums in labour has been branded the most dangerous in Sussex and fifth most dangerous in Britain.

The 19-mile stretch of the A259 from Eastbourne to Hastings has the highest proportion of accidents in the south east, according to a list compiled by EuroRAP for the ITV programme Police, Camera, Action.

It had 47 fatal and serious collisions between 2004 and 2006 and has been rated as medium-high risk by EuroRAP.

In February 27-year-old Abrar Ahmed Khan, of Crawley, was killed on the road after a three car pile up at Hooe. Pevensey Bay motorcyclist Glyn Jenkins, 23, also lost his life when he collided with traffic lights on the A259, near Eastbourne Marina, in December.

Eastbourne MP Nigel Waterson said, "I am surprised the A27 didn't get the top prize but no-one needed to tell us the A259 is a very dangerous road and a very congested road.

"That is one of the main reasons we are campaigning so hard to keep full maternity services in Eastbourne.

"My concern is for mums in the back of ambulances."

Mr Waterson said he had experienced the A259 first hand and added, "It is a dangerous road because it is not up to modern motoring demands which means people end up taking risks."

EuroRAP's results state 30 per cent of Britain's primary roads fail to rate as safe and extra funding would save lives.

A spokesperson for the Highways Agency said, "We have carried out some work on the A259 in recent years specifically addressing safety.

"We have done resurfacing in certain areas and installed skid resistant surfaces.

"On the A259 only a small proportion of accidents are caused by the infrastructure of the road and we are working with our road safety partners, like Sussex Police, to educate drivers on how they can play their part in keeping the road safe."

This part of the A259 was also slammed in May when it was put in the top ten most difficult routes in the country, according to a poll carried out on behalf of Airwaves chewing gum.

That survey was completed by 3,612 adults and 74 per cent of drivers who gave the A259 a black mark did so because of the daily volume of traffic.

It was also found that 68 per cent of drivers think the road is badly maintained and 66 per cent said the behaviour of other drivers made it one of the most 'challenging' routes to travel.

At the time, save the DGH campaign leader Liz Walke agreed with Mr Waterson and said the A259 would put lives in 'severe danger' if Eastbourne's nearest maternity unit was in Hastings.