Richard Holmes


There was a bigger turnout than usual for the Parish Council meeting in St Mary’s Community Hall last Wednesday: a group of residents from Dumbwoman’s Lane had come along to express their concern about two major traffic problems. The first of these arises whenever a westbound driver on B2089 approaches the junction with Dumbwoman’s Lane much too fast, and in doing so is in serious danger of colliding with any vehicle emerging from the lane. This has in the past resulted in one collision in which both vehicles were written off and both drivers were injured, two very recent serious accidents, both involving motor cyclists (both of them taken to hospital by ambulance) and numerous near misses.

The group had prepared a list of suggested measures to address this problem: eastwards extension of the present Udimore 40mph speed limit zone, a stretch of central double white lines extending both east and west of the junction (reinforcing the message that it’s an offence to overtake near a road junction), and SLOW painted on the road surface near both the present junction warning signs (one of which has in any case been made less effective by the two distracting “diversion route signs” attached to its post). There also seemed to be a general feeling that for the remaining unrestricted but twisty stretch of B2089 between Udimore and Rye the present speed limit of 60mph is too high. Do our readers agree?

The second problem arises whenever A259 is closed between Winchelsea and Rye (usually by a road traffic accident). As it’s not police policy to divert traffic onto lanes (only onto A and B class roads), and consequently drivers are left to find their own way, this inevitably results in two-way congestion in Dumbwoman’s Lane, and blockages which take a long time to clear. Our PCSO, Richard Perchard, suggested a solution: police patrol vehicles should carry notice boards which can be placed at both ends of Dumbwoman’s Lane, and at the upper end of Float Lane, to create a temporary one-way system until the A259 is clear again.

No mention was made of the other occasional cause of congestion in the two lanes, closure of B2089 at any point between the two lane/road junctions. Here too some direction by the police would be helpful.

Other suggested improvements to this dangerous junction were to enlarge and extend the splay, and to adjust the angle of the “Unsuitable for HGVs” sign, so that drivers can see it before actually turning in. It was also agreed that the Parish Council should again press for weight and size restrictions to be placed on all vehicles entering either of the lanes, except for access.

PCSO Perchard agreed to discuss all this with Sgt Downs. Meanwhile Cllr Turgoose was to write to ESCC requesting urgent action on all these matters.

Also on the subject of road traffic, Cllr Knight described the benefits Udimore residents will enjoy if we form a Community Speed Watch. In addition to actually reducing the speed and noise of road traffic, by our willingness to help ourselves we will encourage the police to put more resources into enforcing the 40mph speed limit. Please consider volunteering for this very important work: we will be equipped with “speed guns” (more effective than the SIDs which some of us used several years ago) specially trained by the police and committed to only quite brief periods on watch. Cllr Knight

(01424 883246) will be pleased to explain the proposed scheme in more detail and answer your questions about it.

Among other business, councillors approved making a grant of £200 towards the cost of mounting the Udimore World War I memorial board at the entrance of the Hall. Most of the remaining cost was met by the balance of the Jubilee Fund, and a grant from the Rye Fund.

Please note in your diaries that the next two Parish Council meetings will be on Wednesdays September 18 and November 20, in the Hall at 6.30pm both days.

In St Mary’s this Sunday Holy Communion will be celebrated at 8am. At 6pm there will be a service of Evening Prayer.

And finally, a reminder that 3 weeks from tomorrow, on Saturday evening, August 17, there will be a special chance to celebrate the safe arrival of our Royal Prince (what splendid news!) at the Royal Baby Barn Dance in the Hall, starting at 7.30pm. If you don’t already have tickets (£10, children free accompanied by adults) and don’t want to miss this occasion, you’d be wise to book soon, before it’s sold out, by ringing Nadia (01424 882948, or 07895 639773) or Celia (01424 882250).