A21 Link is crucial

Oh no! Not a stop-the-A21 construction bid please Mr John Hill, in Letters (8 May). At last we have a some vital funding in the South East which will benefit East Sussex too - but to ask for any postponement will give government the reason for transferring the cash to any other region (so often done in the not too distant past) - and not to local schemes.. Yes, the Baldslow connection for our smaller scheme Bexhill Link Road is crucial too - but that is funded from a very different pot.

At last the missing link between the Sevenoaks and Tonbridge by-passes of the A21 is in the plan for construction, starting next year. For those that survive the appalling delays (well over 35000 vehicles use this single carriageway daily), the fatalities (in five years three killed on 4.4 kilometres of road), injuries (68 being affected in that five-year period) and a mass of smashed vehicles, the decades of delay are on the cards for resolution. And the very few users who have heard of the Bexhill Link Road and the Baldslow Link, once the build is done, will be so relieved that the current miseries will be at an end.

Government has at last recognised just how essential it is to have a continuous plan of infrastructure investment. The big concern, highlighted by the views expressed by Mr John Hill is that we have all but forgotten why and how to plan and construct in an orderly and continuous process. It is not so much a matter of finishing one project at the top of the county before the other at the bottom is completed, as suggested by Mr Hill. It is having all the Highways Departments, Central Government and the Local Enterprise Partnerships setting out and carrying out a not stop-delivery of infrastructure improvements. It is just not an option to postpone one project to finish the other.

But what is a prospect, as the economic state of the nation improves, is that the A27/A259 and the A21 gaps in Sussex will climb the priority listings, if we press harder. Our big need on the A21 is for very substantial improvement - from Kippings Cross to Lamberhurst, southwards, then on to Flimwell and ultimately to the outskirts of Hastings. The A21 is crucial to the economic growth of East Sussex and Hastings in particular and we must have far more trunk roads - to supplement the astonishing fact of just 12 miles of dual carriageway roads that we have in the whole county.

Richard Tilden Smith

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