East Sussex County Council has shelved proposals for a number of temporary active travel measures because of local opposition and practical difficulties.
In June, East Sussex was awarded £535,000 from the first tranche of the DfT’s Emergency Active Travel Fund for temporary measures to support active travel. The council has now dropped a number of the proposals and said this week it would spend “more than £350,000”. The grant rules allow the DfT to claw back unspent money.
A proposed footway widening scheme on the A259 in Seaford between Bishopstone and Marine Parade has been dropped. “There are too many challenges to introduce this scheme safely and within a short timeframe,” said officers. “Widening the footway into the existing carriageway would require a lowering of the existing speed limit and realignment of the current road layout, including relocating traffic islands in order to provide an arrangement that operates safely.
“This section of the A259 has experienced a number of crashes over the last five years and any changes introduced in this vicinity are likely to need significant works and it is therefore not suited to a temporary measure.”
A cycle route on the A259 between Peacehaven and Newhaven has been shelved. “There are significant challenges to introduce an on-road advisory cycle lane without relocating existing pedestrian and traffic islands, suspending parking and realigning the central road markings,” said officers. “Due to the high traffic volumes on this section of the A259, the civil works would be very disruptive and may require a road closure. The cycle scheme is not suitable as a temporary measure.”
Also dropped is a footway widening plan on Lewes High Street that would have removed parking. Campaign groups Cycle Lewes and Lewes Living Streets supported the proposal. But the Lewes High Street Traders Association described the proposals as “ludicrous”. “Parking is required for customers from outside of the town,” it said. “The proposals are ludicrous and will kill our businesses.”
The county council said the traders’ concerns outweighed the scheme’s “acknowledged benefits”.
“There has been a relaxation of social distancing guidance from two metres to 1m+, lower risk outside and the new rules about wearing face masks/coverings. As a result, the widening of the footways originally proposed to enable social distancing are now not so necessary.”
Proposed footway widenings on Devonshire Road and Westhill Road in Bexhill have also been dropped. The local chamber of commerce and tourism objected to the proposals after consulting with more than 150 businesses. It said the proposals would not help businesses, adding that parking was already in short supply, and existing footways were wide enough to accommodate the Government’s recommendation of ‘one metre plus’ social distancing.
Schemes that will go ahead include: footway widening at Buckhurst Place underneath the railway bridge in Bexhill; footway widening on the A259 The Stade to Pelham Place, Hastings; a temporary road closure between 10am and 10pm Monday to Sunday on Terminus Road between Grand Parade and Trinity Trees, Eastbourne; and a road closure with exemption for some users in Hailsham High Street.
The delivery of two schemes is subject to the outcome of local consultation: an on-road cycle route on Eastbourne seafront between Wish Tower and Fisherman’s Green; and a cycle route in Eastbourne on Princes Road between Royal Parade and Langney roundabout.
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