MP backs plans to widen A21 and improve safety

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PLANS TO widen the A21 into a dual carriageway have been backed by the MP for Bexhill and Battle.

Earlier this week the Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells Greg Clark said changes were necessary to prevent further deaths after a cyclist was killed in Robertsbridge.

Following that accident and another which left four people injured earlier this month, Mr Clark wrote to the transport secretary to demand action.

And he was immediately backed by Greg Barker, who believes the road should be dual carriageway all the way from Hastings to the M25.

Mr Barker said: “I stand shoulder to shoulder with my Conservative colleague, Greg Clark, in calling for dualling of the A21 from Hastings to the M25.

“The A21 is one of the worst roads in Britain for traffic jams and, most importantly, its appalling safety record.

“Safety continues to be my number one priority and there is more we can do to improve the dangerous pinch points and accident black spots, especially at Hurst Green.

But, Greg Clark is absolutely right in calling for the upgrading of this important national road to dual carriageway status which it properly deserves.”

There have been almost accidents reported on the route during the last year and a public inquiry into potential road-widening of the A21 is due to report its findings within the next few months.

The Highways Agency has previously unveiled plans to upgrade a short two and a half mile stretch of the road between Tonbridge and Pembury but the hope is a convincing case will now be made for similar alterations to the entre route.

Mr Barker has previously lobbied the Highways Agency to improve the A21 at Hurst Green after a host of crashes.

There have also been strong economic arguments for a dual carriageway between Hastings and the M25, with local politicians and business leaders saying it would boost trade to 1066 Country.

Earlier this month a 47 year old Hurst Green woman was badly injured after being hit by a vehicle while walking close to her home alongside the A21.

Hurst Green Parish Council chairman Graham Browne described the road as “incredibly dangerous”.

He said: “We have a national speed limit here even though it is a built up area with 30 houses along a quarter of a mile strip of road.”

The council has been promised a 50mph reduction but costs of implementing this have delayed it for two years.

Mr Browne said: “The council would like to see a 40mph reduction but police said this is not enforceable.”

As far back as 2002 the A21 was shamed as the most dangerous road in the South East outside the M25 after a shocking 157 fatal road accidents in a three year period.

It was also named as the 38th worst road in the country from 883 roads assessed.