Environmentalists and pressure groups have voiced concern about the proposal to build a new A27 road between Lewes and Polegate.
The Friends of the South Downs and South Downs Society says the “motorway style road” will be a scar across the countryside as it will be visible from the downs and the South Downs National Park.
The society’s Vic Ient said, “We do not feel the proposed solution would solve the traffic jams which occur almost daily at the two major roundabouts near Lewes – Ashcombe near Kingston and Southerham at the junction with the A26.
“Spending £450 million on this project, when there are cutbacks in services locally, seems the wrong approach. We support the ‘in-line’ solution which is estimated to cost £75 million and which would improve the situation along the route for both car drivers and for pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders. Congestion through the villages would also ease.
“The land between Lewes and Polegate is low-lying, across the Laughton levels, and therefore any motorway would have to be built on an embankment making it even more visible from the national park in the countryside around.
“In addition to this, and of more environment damage, it would increase the noise envelope by at least four or five times. The noise of the road would be heard from the South Downs Way.
“If this proposal went ahead, would this actually help the economy and the people in Polegate and Eastbourne? I doubt it. It might just encourage people to leave their jobs locally and drive to Brighton or even further afield to the Gatwick area. This would then result in further impact, the residential areas in the east just becoming dormitory towns.
“Local businesses in Polegate and Eastbourne could subsequently be affected and this could then lead to even more traffic on the roads and cause even further traffic jams around the A27 towards Brighton, as locals travelled further afield.
“The A27 situation at Polegate and Lewes mustn’t be considered in isolation. The picture is much bigger than this. The proposal is not part of an integrated track transport plan. It doesn’t solve the traffic problems on the A26 as you come down into on the A26 to Lewes and go through the
Cuilfail tunnel. That traffic congestion and pollution problems will increase with the proposed heavier and faster flow.
“We would support an integrated view of the transport system across Sussex where there is a serious attempt to reduce our carbon footprint and global warming, which in turn will reduce pollution from cars and HGVs.
“We believe the new transport for the south east government body should support schemes that include rail and bus solutions whilst encouraging local employment thus avoiding the need for long commuter journeys by car.
“A fraction of the £450 million referred to, could build the seven miles of track between Uckfield and Lewes, dual the rail track north of Uckfield, improve the A27 connections, improve A26/A259 serving Newhaven for buses and cars alike and pay for electric buses plus a whole lot more and have a much lesser environmental impact on the South Downs National Park.”