A company running community bus services has slammed the council over its handling of major roadworks, which it claims will cut residents off from vital services.
Resurfacing work on the A268 started on Monday (June 1) and will continue until July 2.
Pat Hughes, operations manager at Rye and District Community Transport, says East Sussex County Council gave just three working days notice about the works.
She says it will cause huge disruption to services, including those to and from Rye Hospital and Rye Medical Centre.
In an email to Cllr Keith Glazier, leader of ESCC, Pat said: “I am furious the public information pack, which actually details the phases and their timings, was only sent out on Wednesday, May 27, just three working days before the scheme began. And some key organisations (eg schools) and personnel were on holiday that week.”
The work is being carried out in three phases. The first section between Kitchenor Lane and Mill Lane will continue until June 10. The second section between Coldharbour Lane and Church Lane will follow from June 11-17. The final section, which will impact the medical centre, is between the junction with Iden Road and the junction with Military Road, to take place between June 18 and July 2. Pat said: “While phase one is a problem for those wanting to get to and from Beckley and Northiam from the Peasmarsh/Rye direction, phase two cuts Peasmarsh/Rye Foreign residents from the Rye Medical Centre and or Rye Hospital unless they can go via Beckley and Broad Oak.
“Phase three prevents anyone from Rye and Rye Harbour, Winchelsea Town and Beach, Iden, Peasmarsh, Rye Foreign etc, patients and staff, from getting to the RMC/Rye Hospital in the daytime for 11 days.
“Are all appointments to be cancelled? What about getting prescriptions from the pharmacy?
“My own feeling is that if this work cannot be done at night, then it needs to be cancelled at this point and rethought with proper consultation.
“This is much more disruptive than the recent A28 Northiam to Horns Cross work yet it seems to have been slid into place as quietly as possible.”
Karl Taylor, ESCC assistant director of operations, said: “This is one of the more than 200 schemes we are carrying out as part of a £20m investment in improving East Sussex roads this financial year and a great deal of planning has gone into these schemes to minimise disruption. The resurfacing work along the A268 has been carefully planned to take place outside peak rush hour times to minimise inconvenience.
“I apologise to those residents who felt our notice of these works was too short but many residents tell us they don’t like to be told about road closures too far in advance.
“We also run the risk of having to postpone works due to weather or operational problems if we publicise too far in advance.
“During these works, residents will continue to have access to their homes and local businesses, people will be able to access the hospital and medical centre when the works reach that part of the road and we are also working closely with bus operators to try and minimise the impact on services.
“The law dictates, because of the width of the road, we have to close the road to safeguard the workforce and I’m sure everyone would recognise the safety of contractors and the public is paramount.
“We did also consider night-time working but this would have significantly increased the cost to the taxpayer and meant we would have been able to resurface fewer roads.
“We do appreciate there will be some disruption, and we thank residents for their patience and understanding.
“This is a major project in which the county council is investing almost £750,000 in much-needed improvements which will benefit residents, motorists and visitors to Rye for many years to come.”
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