Highways England are holding consultations until 8th Dec 2016 on their proposals for changes to the A27 ‘East of Lewes scheme.’ It comprises a package of proposals with a budget of some £75 million. This is part of the Government’s 2015 – 2020 Road Investment Strategy.
The remaining exhibitions are being held locally: Sat 26th at Bewick and then Mon 28 & Tues 29 in Lewes:
CLICK HERE here to go to the brochure describing the proposals.
As you probably know all the options for this section of the A27 are around carrying out modifications on an “in-line” basis. The work proposed relate to the section of the A27 between Middle Farm and Polegate. I’m in favour of the ‘in-line’ improvements and I am opposed to the idea of creating a dual carriageway across the open landscape between Beddingham & Polegate. At the moment, only the in-line proposals are on the table but I know that the local MPs are trying to persuade the Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Transport to allocate over £400 million in the autumn statement (details will not be out for a few weeks/months) for a ‘motorway’ type dual carriageway road. There is no design proposal for this at the moment but we should be aware that the possibility of such a damaging development to the countryside could be approved by the government.
Walking & Cycling path: In the current proposals there is some good news for pedestrians, walkers and cyclists! An extension of the long distance cycle path ( C90) is proposed from where it finishes near Firle all the way to Polgate. Even if you don’t live in the area please would you write in and support this aspect of the proposal? If lots of people write in then there is a good chance the cycle/walking route will get built. If people don’t write in there is a good chance Highways England will drop it. Please remember it’s only an option at this stage.
Strike days continue despite the fact that the RMT has agreed to let its members sign up to become On-Board Supervisors as opposed to continuing their role as Guards. Strikes will continue until 8 December but there seems no end to the dispute.
So, the misery for commuters continues! I hope everyone in our local area will pressurise both parties to end the strikes. For my part, back in July, I successfully got the Lewes District Council to support the Mayor of London’s proposal that the Southern franchise should be operated by Transport for London. Unfortunately, the Secretary of State, Chris Grayling, chose to ignore this plea by our Council which was also supported by Wealden and Eastbourne councils. At the September meeting of the Lewes District Council’s Scrutiny Committee I proposed a motion, which was passed, inviting both the Department for Transport and Govia/GTR to come to Lewes and explain to the committee how they propose to get services back to normal. Govia/GTR have agreed to a meeting which will take place on 10 November 2016. Click here for more info
More recently the Parliamentary Transport Select Committee issued a report cited the “woeful” experience of Southern passengers, who have faced months of industrial action and staff shortages. The committee urged Transport Ministers to “get a grip” on monitoring rail franchise agreements amongst other things. The committee have an inquiry underway titled ‘Improving the rail passenger experience.’ Click here to see their report
Pressure continues from other quarters: A group of commuters have raised more than £24,000 to launch legal action against the Department for Transport. For more information click here
Transport focus by Cllr Vic Ient:
In March 2016 at I attended Amber Rudd’s Transport Summit Hastings – this was before the current dispute started. This was a rather glossy event papering over the cracks of all of the rail problems we have in the south-east. Speakers included many of the great and good of the rail and bus industry in the south-east including Charles Horton the CEO of GTR. For more information on this event click here
Ever since I was a councillor on Kent County Council in the 1970s I have been interested in improving our transport solutions in the UK. I am an active supporter of the Campaign for Better Transport (http://bettertransport.org.uk/ ). I have researched the 2002 South Coast Corridor Multi Modal Study and have tried to get the government to implement this instead of just building roads. In 2016 I attended the Transport Summit in Hastings. Early in 2016 I attended the Department for Transport’s Cycling and Walking Strategy workshop in London. As a member of the South Downs Society I working with my colleagues to reviewing the current government proposals for an A27 road only solution along the south coast between Polgate and Chichester. I also follow Railfuture’s campaign (http://www.railfuture.org.uk/ ) for better rail solutions in the south-east especially restoring the rail link between Uckfield and Lewes.
Lib Dems win motion calling for the Department for Transport and Govia to come to Lewes to be questioned by the Lewes District Council over the train service delays and cancellations
Yesterday (Thurs 8th Sept) at the Scrutiny Committee of the Lewes District Council Lib Dem councillor Vic Ient proposed that the Committee invite the Department of Transport and Govia/GTR to come down to Lewes and meet the members of the committee so that they can present their plans for a resolution of the dispute currently running with the RMT as well as providing information on what steps they will take to significantly reduce train cancellations and late trains whether or not there is a dispute with the union.
After a lengthy debate it was clear that the majority Conservative members of the committee were not going to support Vic Ient’s motion. In the end the committee agreed a watered down version:
That the Scrutiny Committee of Lewes District Council invite both the Department of Transport and Govia/GTR to attend a meeting with members of the Scrutiny Committee so that they can present their plans to significantly reduce train cancellations and late trains.
Future Government investment plans for cycle paths and to make cycling safer along with improvements for safer footways and to encourage people to walk will, in future be guided by a Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS).
Unfortunately the government’s consultation period for the public to make suggestions on the draft strategy is very short. Consultations close this coming Monday – on 23 May 2016 (just before midnight).If you want to give your comments please click on the link below or you can email directly to the Department for Transport team at firstname.lastname@example.org