Council rejects calls for safer crossings on main road
Calls for safer pedestrian crossings on a main road in Peacehaven have been turned down by a senior county councillor.
Councillor Claire Dowling, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for transport and environment, considered a petition calling for improved pedestrian access in the area around the Dell Park, in South Coast Road.
The petition, organised by a group of Labour councillors from Peacehaven, said that the existing pedestrian crossings in the area were “inadequate”.
They called on the council to identify where new crossings could be sited.
Councillor Dowling turned down these calls, sharing a view put forward by officials that the crossings would not be “a priority” given the council’s limited resources.
Officials said that the council had recently looked into other requests for improvements in the nearby area which had not met the criteria required to be taken forward.
Labour councillor Ciarron Clarkson, who represents Peacehaven West on Lewes District Council, criticised the advice.
He told the meeting on Monday (13 March): “There is a perception that the conurbations of Telscombe and Peacehaven are seen as nothing more than a drive-through by councillors at East Sussex – two inconsequential towns on the main road between more important parts of the county.
“Over a number of years this has led to roadworks along the A259 in Telscombe and Peacehaven that increase capacity, flow and speed at junctions with no thought to residents, pedestrians or cyclists.”
Councillor Clarkson added: “East Sussex – and this recommendation – have missed the importance of crossings.
“Of course road deaths should be reduced where possible but the lack of serious incidents in this area does not mean that it is not dangerous or a concern.
“The residents who contacted me for assistance with this issue know the area is dangerous so they don’t cross the road or they cross it rarely. This is the issue.”
Labour councillor Chris Similar, who represents Peacehaven on the county council, made a similar criticism and said that residents felt that the decision was “financial”.
Councillor Dowling said: “As you are well aware, we have very strict criteria. (Officials) get thousands of requests every year, which you as a county councillor are well aware.
“They all have to be assessed and (this proposal) did not meet the benchmark score. To say it is purely financial is doing us an injustice.”
The Conservative cabinet member added: “I am very much in agreement with this recommendation. It has not reached the benchmark score which is the reason it is not being taken forward.”
Officials noted that new crossing could be brought funded through the county council’s “community match” scheme. This would require a community organisation – such as Peacehaven Parish Council – to provide match-funding for the road improvements.
Any such application would first require a feasibility study which would have to be paid for by the local community.
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There is a light controlled pedestrian crossing about 100yds to the east of the roundabout. In what way is this inadequate?
Lewes council would rather spend 75 million pounds on a cycle path from Lewes to Polegate. I travel every day, back and fourth to Eastbourne and so far have only seen 4 people cycling on this. Also I have never seen any pedestrians at all use it. Seems to me Lewes council, like Brighton council’s white elephant i-360 tower have their heads stuck in the clouds.
The money for that cycle path will have come from a central government pot, and earmarked solely for the purpose it was bid for so Lewes council wouldn’t have the choice to spend it on pedestrian crossings.
It’s also not really fair to complain about non-usage of the path given that it’s not finished yet and we’re only just coming out of winter.
That said, it’s odd that they chose to build this entirely new route before upgrading the Lewes to Falmer section, which is not really fit for purpose.