I have today written to a number of local and national stakeholders to highlight concerns raised to me by residents of Little Common about traffic congestion.
Concerns on this issue were brought to my attention last year during a residents meeting in Little Common which was called to discuss traffic movements on the A259. At this meeting, chaired by local Councillor Stuart Earl, I was joined by the Leader of East Sussex County Council, Cllr Keith Glazier, and local Highways England representative, Felicity Drewitt. Many residents felt that the volume of traffic in the area had increased following the opening of the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road. There being no recorded information, Highways England offered to conduct testing on the road to ascertain if the volumes have increased and are at levels which could trigger investment and action.
Shortly after the meeting had taken place, I signed a letter from all MPs in Sussex to the Roads Minister appealing for investment for the A27. Within this letter, I referenced a need to invest in the road network taking traffic further east from the A27. Whilst the needs of the A21 and A27 currently receive a high degree of focus, it is the A259 which provides the link to these two roads. I therefore wanted to ensure that the A259 at Little Common is on the table for future investment. Whilst I recognise that investment in the network can take years, by-passing Little Common had been planned in years past and it is important that the case continues to be championed by all who can influence this outcome.
My concern for residents in Little Common is heightened by the plans for the North East Access Road which will connect Ninfield Road to Link Road. The funding of the new access road has been reconfirmed by the Local Enterprise Partnership. It is the logical next step to the opening of the Link Road between Bexhill and Hastings and another step towards by-passing Bexhill. Whilst I welcome the plans for the new access road, I am conscious that it has the potential to increase traffic movements in to Little Common and then heading north towards the new access road.
I have written to the local stakeholders who are responsible for the new access road and have asked them to ensure that steps are taken to consider ways to minimise increased traffic movements in Little Common. In addition, I have asked that the development of the North East Access Road, being the second road development following the opening of the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road, is the second part of a three-stage plan to by-pass Bexhill and Little Common completely. The final part, which I would like the local partners to champion, would be the development of a further new road which would allow traffic to travel between the North East Access Road and the A259 prior to it reaching Little Common. A similar plan was on the table previously and it would be the obvious step to allow traffic to move freely between east and west.
I am currently in the midst of a House of Commons Transport Select Committee inquiry in to urban traffic congestion. I am aware that the delivery of new road networks can transform the local environment and wellbeing of residents, bring economic regeneration and deliver the infrastructure for new housing to be built. I applaud the residents in Little Common for raising their concerns and I look forward to lobbying on their behalf to deliver a better road solution to the area.