Green light for £92m funds for A21 widening

THE SCHEME to widen a section of the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury has been given a boost with the announcement that £92million of government money will be made available to the scheme.

Chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, told the House of Commons last Thursday (June 27), following chancellor George Osborne’s spending review, the funding will be available from 2015.

The plan is to upgrade the 2.5-mile (4km) section of the road, the main route between Hastings and London, to a dual carriageway, and the public inquiry into the scheme was due to be completed yesterday.

Congestion is rife on this part of the route, which carries 35,200 vehicles per day, and the Highways Agency is confident that journey times along the section in question will be cut by 69 per cent by 2032.

Mr Alexander’s announcement means that if the public inquiry gives the scheme the final go ahead, everything should be in place to proceed.

Battle MP Greg Barker said: “George Osborne’s decision to invest £92 million of Government funding in the dualling of the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury is great news for our area. Conservatives in Government understand just how important good transport infrastructure is in driving forward economic growth. East Sussex has long suffered from poor access to good roads. This improvement to the A21 will improve life for local motorists as well as be good for our local economy.”

Cllr Rupert Simmons, East Sussex County Council lead member for economy, said: “Good road links are vital to the economic prosperity of East Sussex and traffic doesn’t just stop at the county boundary. The widening of this stretch of road will ease congestion and improve traffic flow on the main north to south artery from London to Hastings and the coast.

“This is great news for people who live in, work in or visit East Sussex and will help to improve the attractiveness to businesses of the employment sites we’re unlocking in the county through schemes such as the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road. The announcement provides another shot in the arm for the East Sussex economy and we’re hopeful work can begin as soon as possible, provided the scheme is approved at the public inquiry stage.”