Bexhill and Battle MP, Huw Merriman, took the opportunity to raise local transport issues for East Sussex during a debate on transport in Parliament last week. After making a case for more investment and subsidies for local rail services, and a high speed rail link between Bexhill and London, Huw turned his attention to dangerous local roads.
Speaking about the A21 and A259 in the House of Commons, he said “I happen to have the embarrassment of a road (A21) on which people are more likely to suffer a fatality than any other road in the UK. I also have two roads that are in the top 10 of the most dangerous roads. And those roads remain dangerous. Highways England modelled the A21 on a road in Scotland where 80% safety improvements had been made by using speed cameras, but then decided not to proceed with that on the basis that it had a better alternative. Eighteen months later, we are still waiting for that alternative. This is clearly not good enough.”
Turning his attention to the A259, and issues raised by residents in Little Common and the lack of progress of house building off the Link Road, the MP said “Another instance is the A259—again, one of the most dangerous roads in the country, where residents face a maddening situation: they are seeing more planning applications in their locality, and despite their paying the council tax to help build a link road that thousands of houses should go alongside, the developer is not yet building those homes. That developer should be charged full council tax on the homes that were planned to be built after 12 months of inactivity. It is not fair that residents will get even more air pollution from the increased traffic on their roads when a prime site already approved for much-needed housing is not being built out.”
Following Huw’s intervention, the Government has this week announced further measures to clamp down on developers failing to turn planning consent into new homes. The MP said “I welcome the Government’s proposal to ensure that developers build the new homes or lose the planning consent. However, my preference would be to charge developers who fail to build homes with financial penalties rather than the loss of the planning consent. It is notoriously easy for developers to restart the clock by starting work but never completing. I will be watching for progress locally so we get the new homes we need in the areas already designated by our local authorities.”
Huw and Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye will be bringing a delegation of local representatives and stakeholders to Parliament next week to meet the Roads Minister, Jesse Norman MP, to lobby for urgent improvements for the A21.
Notes for Editors:
You can read Huw’s full speech here https://www.huwmerriman.org.uk/news/debate-transport