Tag Archives: DfT

C7 Safety Campaign

Dear Residents,

Here is an update for on the C7 Safety campaign group. In July 2015 I reported that the Parishes of the Lower Ouse (POLO) had supported me in the setting up of a working group for all of the residents in the parishes in the lower Ouse Valley to investigate solutions to the problems of safety and traffic calming all along the C7 road. During 2015/2016 a number of workshop meetings were held with residents & parishes to document the issues. Comments and suggestions were documented in a series of drawings and list. I circulated and publish this information in January 2017. Click here to see the charts and report.

During the autumn of 2016 ESCC Highways met with POLO and positively responded to the research work we had been carrying out. Earlier this year I met with the ESCC Highways Department and discussed in what way they could assist the community in improving the traffic calming and safety measures along the road.  This report summarises my discussions with ESCC and proposes further steps towards pulling together a fully documented and costed plan to tackle the road issues. Here are my notes:

East Sussex County Council:

  • Are willing to help the community find a suitable highways design consultancy who could put together a safety and traffic calming strategy for the C7. ESCC have promised to send a list of consultants we may wish to work with.
  • Are going to carry out a survey this summer of the whole road detailing minor improvements and maintenance upgrades for things like signs & markings. This survey will also refer to possible other minor improvements for safety purposes. Once this survey is complete quotations will be obtained from their approved contractor and a proposal for implementation will be submitted (internally in the ESCC) so that work can go ahead.
  • Have now made detailed comments on our list of proposed safety and traffic calming measures. Here is a copy of that list, (click to download): C7 List of Comments 2016 POLO with ESCC info
  • Are willing to attend one of our workshop meetings to discuss their comments. We have agreed a date of the 2nd August at  6 PM. Please join us. please send an email to me & I will confirm the venue.  This meeting is open to all the parishes and residents in the valley.

However we can’t just rely on progressing things through one small department in the ESCC. As I have said before, the community needs to lead on this issue and produce a strategy and a plan for implementing safety and traffic calming measures. I have already proposed the production of a safety strategy document for the road which should be accompanied by a design/finance plan. As members of POLO may remember a proposal to engage a design consultant was discussed last year and the POLO Clerk put out a request to the parishes to support the cost of producing the design document bearing in mind that the district council (click here for further info) had agreed to fund 50% of the £2000 cost. I am not sure which parishes agreed to help with the cost or if the particular consultant proposed is still the preferred supplier.

Rationale behind a strategy & financial plan: Some improvements will come through the normal county council maintenance budget. Residents just need to make sure they report maintenance items but other measures will be more costly and will require funding from the county council, parishes or/and from a combination of organisations, possibly including the Local Enterprise Partnership (which deals with applications for funding locally on behalf of the government) or/and from special charities and other organisations. all of these organisations will require an application proposal and an estimate of costs. That is why we need a strategy plan and financial costings . Once we have these we can approach the organisations for funding . Hopefully we will be able to do this in by this autumn such that funds can be allocated in the next financial year ( 2018/19).

I will continue to work on the C7 safety issues and I am pleased to say that Joe Attwood (joe.attwood@btinternet.com) has volunteered to become the C7 Safety project coordinator. I’m looking forward to working with him to produce the safety plan for the road. We have set up a workshop meeting for 5 July at 6 PM. Please join us.  Please send an email to me & I will confirm the venue. This meeting is open to all the parishes and residents in the valley.

In parallel with the continuing work we shouldn’t forget that there’s always an opportunity for everyone to help improve things on the road. Here is some information:

Sources of Finance: Hopefully we will be able to find a volunteer who can research the different sources of funding. There may be just a short window of time available for applications to the EU as existing programmes run to the year 2020. However, apart from the county council, we will need some research into how one makes applications to the Local Enterprise Partnership.

Parish Councils: In parallel to this initiative the parishes (​Kingston, Iford, Rodmell, Southease  & Piddinghoe) and residents association (Kingston Road) continue with their own actions. I hope residents will discuss safety and traffic calming measures with their own parish council or association.

Report it: If you see a sign, pothole or verge which needs repairing or maintaining please use the automated reporting system. Click here for information and links

Accidents: Many people are keeping a log of accidents along the road and I hope you’ll share this at the workshop meeting

Speeding –  This is of concern to many people, the question is proving it! I hope we can get police, albeit with their scarce resources, to devote some time to the C7. In addition, there are a number of ways to kick off an initiative in your area. Here are some websites which may be of interest: Information on reducing speeding

Enforcing the weight & width restriction: Luckily past councillors for the ward got a weight restriction implemented for the C7.  A width restriction exists on the C324 through Kingston. Some residents feel these regulations are being broken. Ways of reporting and enforcement could be discussed by all the parishes.

Traffic Calming:  Volunteers are needed to research traffic calming measures. Here is a link of what I have found:   https://www.evernote.com/pub/vic182/trafficcalming

Other initiatives?

Road: I’m following up on the future of the A27 especially the section from the Ashcombe roundabout to Beddingham. Whether or not the A27 is turned into a motorway east of Lewes changes are needed to the three roundabouts at Ashcombe, Southerham & Beddingham to encourage the traffic to take the A26 to Seaford and Newhaven rather than the C7. I’m attending a seminar with Highways England on 10 July in London to follow this up.

Rail: I’ve already put my views forward concerning the reopening of the Lewes to Uckfield line. I am continuing to follow this up and support the initiative by Railfuture. Also I would like to see, linked parking/ticketing initiatives at stations in Sussex to persuade drivers to take the train.

Bus: I would like to see the introduction of Sunday services and an extension to their 123 service along the valley. To persuade drivers to take the bus instead of the train I would like to see an express coach service operating between Brighton, Lewes and Eastbourne along the A27 rather than just the busy coastal road

PS:  Swanborough

As some of you will know a planning application has been submitted and approved for holiday lodges next to the fishing lakes in Swanborough. Click here to see my report.

One of the good things that come out of this development is that the National Park have made a condition that a section 106 agreement must be signed before the development can start. We hope this will provide for some footpaths and safety measures on the C7. Here is the latest map showing the developers proposals for cycle/footways: (click to enlarge)

 

Southern Railway passengers continue to suffer!

dsc_0208Strike 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

Click image to enlarge
Only 26% of trains arrive on time! (Click image to enlarge table)

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.

Click here to see my August blog on the rail dispute 

 

Report back September 2016

Dear Residents,

Here is my report back for Sept 2016. I hope you find this newsletter and my website useful. (Click here for previous reports). There are quite a few subjects covered  so here is the index (just click on a title to go straight to the item)

New Chief Exec at the Council    —    Rail dispute    —    Planning     —      Planning complaints

Local Plans   —      EU    —     Funding for Footpaths & Cycleways    —       C7 Road

Rodmell school   —   Bus services   —     Falmer bus   —    Parliamentary Boundary changes

Kingston school  —   A27  —       Broadband   —    Liberal Democrat Conference

Climate change   —   Linked to my reports   —    Questions?

Continue reading Report back September 2016

DfT & Govia to be questioned by the Lewes District Council

Update Fri 9th Sept:

southern-railwayLib 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.

Read more on this here:   rail-dispute-update-9th-sept

More news and information – click below:

Continue reading DfT & Govia to be questioned by the Lewes District Council

Rail Dispute

2016-07-19 14.55.29 (2)
Lib Dem Cllrs Olivia Honeyman & Vic Ient reviewing the rail despute at Seaford

Unless there is a major breakthrough this week the strike called by the RMT Union will go ahead next week affecting commuters and thousands of people who use the rail network every day across Sussex. Talks started yesterday (Wed) according to the Guardian.

Things don’t look good as the  ticket workers’ union to ballot over co-ordinated train strike for ‘maximum impact’ according to The Argus. This dispute has been a long time in the making and I have taken this opportunity to look back into how we got here and at the same time put some proposals forward to resolve things.

In this article you can see my proposals and a review of the background to the dispute:

Continue reading Rail Dispute

Have your say on Government plans for cycling and walking

Cycle Walk ImageFuture 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 walking.cycling@dft.gsi.gov.uk

If you haven’t got much time you can go straight to the survey, which is open until Monday night: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/82MN3Q3    To read the strategy and then comment, go to this link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/draft-cycling-and-walking-investment-strategy

Last week I attended one of the Dept for Transport’s briefings on the strategy. Here is a link to their presentation: 160511 Presentation for roadshows – London eve

Thanks

Councillor Vic Ient

VicBike-Small