VIDEO: 'Terrible state' of Hailsham High Street sparks fury

Residents are furious after multi-million pound work to Hailsham High Street has started to break down just months after it finished.

Friday, 20th April 2018, 10:39 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 12:34 am
Town Councillor Grant De Jongh has spoken out over the state of the High Street (photo by Jon Rigby)

The £2.8 million scheme – half of which was funded by the county council – started in June 2016 and disrupted the town centre for about 18 months.

But now, a councillor has spoken out over the ‘terrible’ state of some of the High Street.

Councillor Grant De Jongh said, “You can’t mention it without raising someone’s blood pressure. It’s terrible, it’s really bad.

Town Councillor Grant De Jongh has spoken out over the state of the High Street (photo by Jon Rigby)

“The contractor was chosen to produce a really nice High Street. Within nine months roads started degrading. People have said the traffic calming measures started degrading 12 weeks after being laid.

"They started breaking down, cracking. People’s shops started getting sand splashed on them. Who makes a road that lasts less than a year? It gets my goat.”

He added, “The holes in these have been filled with tarmac, which is incredibly unattractive. We want what we have paid for, not some sub-optimal version of it.

“You can hear the blocks rattling from the other side of town. The trip hazards are a huge concern to the public. I heard an elderly lady tripped using the crossing area.

David Brown of Special Occasions (photo by Jon Rigby)

"The contractors are dragging their feet to do anything about it. We need them to step up and fix this without affecting trade.”

Business owner David Brown, who has run Special Occasions since 1983, said, “I think the scheme was long overdue. But you don’t expect surfaces to break down after six months.

"The public is getting very irate about it. It’s a great shame. It needs sorting sensibly with a discussion with the business community. It’s cost businesses thousands of pounds. Another road closure is going to infuriate people.”

And staff at Truffles bakery say they have witnessed people with buggies or on bikes struggling to get across the road due to the uneven surface, and every week they have to clean sand off their windows which has been splashed up when it rains.

Staff at Truffles bakery (photo by Jon Rigby)

And Elaine Lamble, of Millies, said, "when it rains there's no drainage to take away the surface water. All the sand comes up and it get all muddy.

"I'm watching where I'm putting my feet on the cobbles, it's terrible."

She said the business lost trade while the roadworks where going on and now customers find pieces of the road broken off outside the shop.

Mayor and chairman of Hailsham council Councillor Nigel Coltman said, “I’m appalled at the poor quality relating specifically to the raised tables in the High Street and the noise emanating from the impact of vehicles driving over the loose bricks, which has affected a number of shops.

Elaine Lamble and Della Blair of Millies in Hailsham (photo by Jon Rigby)

“Although not officially discussed yet, there is a general consensus among many town councillors that replacement should be a priority for the highway contractors.” There is to be a meeting on May 1 to seek a solution.

An East Sussex Highways spokesman said, “We’re aware of the issues in the High Street and we’d like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.“Temporary repairs were carried out in February and we are currently looking at options for a long-term solution to the problem and consulting with relevant stakeholders including the town council and district council.“We hope to be in a position to confirm details of the work being carried out soon and will keep local residents and businesses informed. The cost of any work will be borne by the contractor.”