Funding tide turning our way

At long last! The efforts at persuading Government, local and Central, are beginning to come good. As a frequent traveller by road and rail, and one of the many thousands who endure all sorts of time loss and waste due to traffic jams, late running trains and all the other interruptions to a peaceful ordered life, to learn that the A21 is getting upgraded at the M25 end, that Kippings Cross to Lamberhurst section is under the eye again of the Department for Transport - all this is very welcome, though it is still far too late for the too many deaths on the A21 - and we still need the rest of the A21 route fully upgraded to the now-funded Queensway Link to cope with the South Coastal population growth.

So full marks to Amber Rudd MP and her very exacting efforts on behalf of the County’s road and rail travellers too. Because of the very restricted way local politics operates in the UK - too often constituency boundaries cut off visions of a wider population’s needs - getting coherent case for trunk road or rail improvement funding is doubly difficult.

But there we are and - despite some strange concerns expressed by Rye that Marshlink (Ashford-Rye) rail line might even be closed! - Amber Rudd with rail user groups across the County have fought long and hard to get service improvements, electrification, re signalling and Javelin services committed into the rail development programmes. This is excellent, because down here we have been neglected for far too long - but we still have a massive planning process before we are able to board Javelin at Bexhill, Hastings or Rye for fast transit to London.

And growth is on its way to the South Coast where there are now new homes in build, with many more projected and with major employers looking once again at the undoubted advantages of working and employing on the South Coast. All this will help to bring new prosperity we hope - but, yes, it is gradual and takes an enormous amount of time and effort. And puts even more pressure behind these road and rail investments.

We travellers still live in hope that these changes will make a major difference to our lives and the hope is they will come sooner rather than later. So hats off and thanks to all those pressing for change and vital improvement to our ancient infrastructure!

Richard Tilden Smith

Mountfield, Robertsbridge