East Sussex County Council (ESCC) is proposing a sustainable “Transport Corridor” from Hailsham to Eastbourne. This includes bus, cycle and pedestrian routes.
Consultation has been taking place but it is unclear how much the current proposal has been reviewed by cycling stakeholders.
This proposal from ESCC is linked to their Transport Plan 2011 to 2016. This latter plan identifies, that with the current constraints for space within urban areas and an increase in population, there will need to be other solutions than only cars.
The ESCC proposal includes a cycle route along the A22. This route is along sections of dual carriageway where traffic is travelling in excess of 60 mph and has numerous junctions that cyclists would have to negotiate. It would not be usable by children and the less confident
Bespoke would like ESCC to consider an alternative route designed for all cyclists . This would be based on the Cuckoo Trail, which is the old railway line between Hailsham and Polegate. It could then be extended across Hindsland to Willingdon. An upgraded Cuckoo Trail would support many more cyclists that the ESCC proposal.
The Cuckoo Trail proposal would require further work but it is clear that it would be more suitable than the A22 alternative.
Rationale provided by ESCC
The description below is provided By ESCC in terms of the Hailsham to Eastbourne Sustainable Transport Corridor. This work will require further consultation.
“Many of the main roads between Hailsham and Eastbourne are heavily congested, especially at peak times. The pressure on the existing road network is expected to increase due to the extra traffic generated from new housing development that will come forward in the period up to 2027 which is the period covered by the next Wealden Local Plan. East Sussex County Council is currently developing a package of improvements to tackle the congestion problems along the key links between Hailsham and Eastbourne to improve conditions for those travelling by bus.”
“These improvements will be critical to ensuring that the planned level of development can be accommodated on the transport network. As part of the scheme measures to improve cycling and walking are also being developed. The proposals included in this current consultation comprise of the specific measures which have been identified for the Hailsham area. Implementation of these measures will tie in to development programme set out by Wealden District Council through their Local Plan up to 2027”
Currently most of the review is towards the north of the route. However there is a parallel piece of work by ESCC who are reviewing traffic in Eastbourne Town Centre. There is a section about this later on.
The ESCC proposed Solution proposed
Further details will need to be provided. However in the 2014 document “Hailsham to Eastbourne Sustainable Transport Corridor.” the proposed cycling route is shown below. It would run along the A22. It would have to pass road junctions as well as the entrance to businesses. Motorised traffic can be over 60mph and is currently not a safe route. It would not support children or the less confident. See the Department for Transport Guidance below.
Eastbourne Town Centre – Ring Road
Identified within this Town Centre review by ESCC was the problem of a lack of space and this included 3 factors
- [The] Established balance of priority to motor vehicles creates difficulties reallocating space
- High cost of remodelling streets
- [The] Demand for parking not in keeping with the physical space available
Department for Transport Guidance
The DfT identities 5 different types of cyclists. Where cycle infrastructure is being proposed then the design should be clear as to what types of cyclist are being catered for.
- Fast commuter – confident in most on road situations and will use a route with significant traffic volumes if it is more direct than a quieter route.
- Utility cyclist – may seek some segregation at busy junctions and on links carrying high-
- Inexperienced and/or leisure cyclist – may be willing to sacrifice directness, in terms of bothdistance and time, for a route with less traffic and more places to stop and rest.
- Child – may require segregated, direct largely off road routes from residential areas to
schools, even where an on road solution is available.
- Users of specialised equipment – includes users of trailers, tricycles, disabled people using hand cranked machines.
The DfT guidance includes minimum design standards as well as the types of solutions might be suitable.
The suggestions below are only initial proposals. This report is more of a statement as to what Bespoke’s preferred route might be.
The Cuckoo Trail
This is one of the best cycle routes in the area. With some upgrades such as lighting and widening this would be the ideal cycle and walking corridor from Hailsham to Eastbourne.
It supports all the DfT types of cyclists mentioned above. It is a direct route from Halisham town centre to Polegate town centre. If it had an extension to Willingdon it would support even more cyclists. Links are also shown on the maps below as to sections of the National Cycle Route 2 through Abbots Wood which if it were weather proofed would support cyclists going east west.
Eastbourne Town Centre
Bespoke would welcome discussing possible routes in Eastbourne. Certainly the Old Town Cycle Route, which joins up most of the schools in the area would be a possibility. If King’s Drive did have a bus lane then this would remove parked cars and make it easier for cyclists. However this would still be a busy thoroughfare and for children the alternative route round the back of the houses in King’s Drive to Thomas a Becket School would be safer. This would be partly achieved by the new housing development near the DGH, that will have a cycle path on this route.
Also shown is the route from Hampden Park along the railway line to Eastbourne Station.
A case could be made for either side of the track and this work could be linked to the review of Eastbourne Park.