Following the publication of the Preferred Route for the eventual Up-grade to the A27 (see http://cycleseahaven.org.uk/a27e2/) members have made representations to various bodies complaining about the lack of north-south crossings on the A27.
The following is a response to letters concerning this lack of north-south crossings and the proposed “ghost” crossing at Wilmington received from the ESCC Lead Member for Transport, Cllr. Nick Bennett.
Thank you for your email of 19 October in relation to pedestrian and cycle provision as part of the A27 East of Lewes smaller scale interventions.
Highways England has engaged with the County Council, and other key stakeholders including Sustrans and the South Downs National Park Authority, over the last couple of years as they have developed and consulted upon their proposals for the A27 East of Lewes. The Preferred Route Announcement made by Highways England in late September identifies a package of localised improvements on the A27 corridor between Lewes and Polegate which will increase capacity and improve safety. Whilst the package of improvements are welcomed, these will only deal with the issues with the current route in the short term. Therefore, along with the local MPs, other local authority leaders and the business community, we are lobbying for a more comprehensive solution (ie. an offline dual carriageway) to address these capacity, journey time reliability, safety issues in the medium and long term as well as support housing and employment in the area.
As you highlight, the preferred route announcement package of improvements includes a shared use path along the length of the A27. At present Highways England are still considering whether the shared use path will be north or south of the road, but from ongoing discussions with Highways England on the package of improvements, our understanding is where possible they would like the shared use path to be away from the main road, albeit that might not be practicable in some locations.
I note your comments in relation to the provision for cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians going north – south across the A27. The funding for the A27 is specifically for improvements on the section of the road between Lewes and Polegate and cannot be used for improvements off the strategic road network.
However we have had separate discussions with Highways England and the National Park in relation to how improvements can be made to non-motorised user routes either side of the A27 and thereby make the case for monies from the HE’s Roads Investment Strategy Cycling Programme, which is a designated fund of £100m available up to 2020 to deliver safer cycling infrastructure near or across the Highways England road network. As part of our ongoing engagement with Highways England on the design of the smaller scale interventions, my officers will also continue to make the case to them for monies from this funding pot to improve pedestrian and cycle facilities north and south of the A27 into the National Park.
Finally, in relation to your comments regarding the lack of crossing facilities as part of the proposals for Wilmington, the scheme does include the introduction of a signalised crossing to the west of the staggered ghost island junction which will provide a safe place for pedestrians and cyclists to cross and thereby address the concerns you raise.
I trust the information above is of interest.
Councillor Nick Bennett
Lead Member, Transport and Environment
East Sussex County Council