From: Richard Elphick, North Trade Road, Battle
I have followed the correspondence in this paper regarding the traffic problems in Battle for the last few years with increasing dismay especially with regards its underlying anti-car bias.
As a resident in Battle I use the town roads daily both as a pedestrian and as a car driver and hence can view both sides of the debate.
As a pedestrian brought up to follow the predecessor of the Green Cross Code I find in general no real problems in walking in Battle, if you follow those precepts.
However as far as I can see most pedestrians now seem to think they have absolute right of way. They step on to the crossings without looking and expect the traffic to stop immediately. Also they expect vehicles to stop for them wherever they want to cross the road with or without a formal crossing.
So a lot of the problems would seem to be the lie with those pedestrians who do not understand that they share the thoroughfare with other users and have to act accordingly. Some self-awareness and reintroduction of the Green Cross Code into schools should help.
My main observation would be that it would be desirable to have formal crossings of the High Street and Mount Street in the vicinity of their junction to provide safe crossing points regulate the pedestrian flow in that area.
With respect to the Tesco issue I can see the problem but it requires more thought than just a road crossing.
When the combined shop/petrol station was developed they used the design for an out of town roadside facility, which is meant for vehicle access only.
Hence the provision of vehicle parking. There is no provision in that design for pedestrian access. Therefore consideration must be given to revising the site layout to allow for separate pedestrian and vehicle routes to and from the shop on basic safety grounds.
In the debate to date no consideration has been given to the problems of the vehicle drivers. Most of my journeys are local due to the lack of suitable public transport.
Being retired I am not generally under time pressure so to take 45 minutes to do the six miles to Hastings is normally only irritating.
However, the A271 and A2100 are main roads for through traffic and the unwarranted delays caused by traffic problems in Battle impact outside the local area.
To minimise delays to this through traffic the following needs to be addressed:
1. On street parking. Given the increased size of vehicles in recent years it is debatable whether any parking in the high street is still viable. However recently for two days no one parked on the double yellow lines and there were no delivery vehicles outside shops and the traffic ran smoothly. So it would seem that proper policing would cure the problem!
2. Off street parking. This has been ignored other than for complaints of local residential roads and the traffic calming bays being used by commuters and local parking on pavements. The various councils seem to wring their hands and say it is not their problem. It is quite clear additional affordable off street parking is required to support the towns businesses and visitors. So they need to get their act together or the town will die.
3. Traffic Calming. This is the biggest misnomer of the lot. It does not calm anything. All it does is generate inordinate traffic jams and frustrates drivers stuck in them. No wonder that when they reach the open road some put their foot down. The flashing 30 sign on North Trade Road hardly goes out at peak times!
If these items were addressed then the traffic situation in Battle would improve immeasurably. Of course this will require the various local authorities to coordinate their efforts which would seem unlikely.
Of course I realise that this is not a new problem. Back in the 1960s when the national major road network was established (the motorways and major routes) it was proposed that there should be a dual carriageway road along the south coast from Dover to Southampton to take through traffic from the channel ports to the South and West away from London.
Unfortunately its provision was handed to the local authorities, hence only small portions have ever been built. However the need is still there.
Also no real money has been spent on the existing roads, the A21 from Hastings to Lamberhurst and the A28 from Hastings to Tenterden are essentially 1950s roads which have not been improved since they were built.
To illustrate the point my family come from Portsmouth, if I want to visit the family graves my Sat Nav advises the fastest route is via the A21, M25 and A3 rather than the direct route along the A27.
It really is about time some overall body was appointed to sort out the antediluvian transport situation in the south coast counties. How about it MPs?