Too often, estates are being completed without consideration of walking, cycling, bus or rail connections, and where the car is King. The bus service improvements (if there are any at all) often appear not in accordance with ‘best practice’ – at the occupation of the first new dwelling – but only as the last house is occupied. By that time, the car habit has been well established to the detriment of all sustainable modes of transport while ‘cocking a snook’ at transport guidance contained in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This is precisely the opposite of what is needed to create communities for children to safely grow, healthily, with opportunities to play outside and eventually to walk or cycle to school. New cross discipline collaborations are emerging in recognition of the need to integrate ‘transport’ and ‘land use planning’.

Transport for New Homes and Transport Action Network Conference on Transport for the South East Draft Strategy
Transport for New Homes (TFNH – See previous post – is a new initiative seeking to integrate transport and planning. The organisation has recently published a useful checklist to help practitioners in each – what should be -closely related discipline to determine the best possible integration ‘on the ground’. You can see it here: TFNH checklist
The principles of ‘Integrated Development Planning’ feature prominently in the report commissioned by SCATE (South Coast Alliance for Transport and Environment). The report is available to view here: Scate New Design Report. The Transport for the South East (TfSE) Draft Strategy has been published and includes many sound principles to which we could sign up – though there are ‘historic’ plans for more road space which must be challenged. Deadline for comments is 10th January, 2020. Transport Action Network held a conference with ‘workshop sessions’ on 16th November at Gatwick to share views on the TfSE Strategy. It was well attended with delegates from all over the south east. A report of the proceedings and views expressed can be viewed here:
You can see the TfSE full report here: TfSE-Draft-Transport-Strategy.

Major Developments for Willingdon and Eastbourne – Unexplored Synergies
With major developments pending in Willingdon, and close to Eastbourne town centre at Bedfordwell, Courtlands Road, Waterworks Road, Moy Avenue (4 major sites in total) and in North Bexhill, we hear little of efforts to ensure a primary role for all sustainable transport options and the need to build these in to the design. We think this should be a key consideration at the concept and outline planning stage (a key recommendation of TFNH). This would avoid the inadequate and tokenistic measures which have been past features of the process, bolted on and too late to make the necessary difference essential to meet a wide range of policy goals, including those to mitigate the inevitable effects of climate change. Time is short.
Shortlisted entries into a TfNH run award scheme might give some ideas as to what form new developments might take. Here are some of the selected examples – each to be subjected to the ‘checklist’. Follow link to the shortlist here: … › transport-for-new-homes-award-shortli…

And here are some photos of the four Eastbourne sites (with map below) :

Bedfordwell Site, west of railway

Former Dairy site, Waterworks Road, east of railway

Former BT site, Moy Avenue, east of railway

ESK site, Courtlands Road, east of railway

Neighbouring development sites

Electric cars – only part of the answer.
As members of SCATE, we are too well aware of the non-stop very vocal commitment of many local politicians to traffic generating major road capacity increases such as the A27/A21 and associated distributor roads, without considering the need for sustainable urban design as an important tool in reducing private motorised traffic (diesel, petrol or electric). In the Eastbourne//Polegate/Hailsham corridor, a much delayed sequence of sustainable transport measures is planned, but it seems out of sequence with the mad rush to develop and actually appears to have been overtaken by development. Close to the town centre, 300 plus dwellings are planned for the four sites mentioned and shown on the map above, but there’s no sign of anyone seeking potential synergies to create pedestrian/cycle/bus links with the town centre or other essential services. This risks accelerated outbreaks of ‘car dependent lifestyle disease’ within walking distance of the town centre. The travel plan we have seen for the BT site clearly includes aspirations for take-up of sustainable modes – but concludes that high levels of parking are needed to prevent ‘pavement parking’, while suggesting that when car trips become slower than walking or cycling, only then will people walk, cycle or use the bus. We can’t, surely, just cross our fingers while congestion worsens, hoping that people will immediately abandon the ‘infinite freedom of motoring’ myths. We should instead quickly create strong incentives for alternatives. Streets are already saturated with vehicles as pictured below – former attractive gardens are now car parks. Would it not be wise to consider the 4 Eastbourne sites as a single entity, increasing the chances of a choice of sustainable modes in getting to town, hospital, school…..?

Pavement invasion: not a safe route to school

Current SUV sales – 37 times that of pure Electric Vehicles

Widespread aggressive and intimidating driving is a huge deterrent to would be pedestrians and cyclists, and highway design often unnecessarily permits such behaviour through wide flared junctions and roundabouts where entry/exit speeds of up to 40mph and higher are possible. In the case of roundabouts, some transport authorities are introducing a design which offers pedestrians and cyclists a segregated pathway – CYCLOPS is the chosen name for the design and here is an illustration:

Remodelling roundabouts could increase walking and cycling levels

Roundabouts in need of a redesign include Upper Avenue, District General Hospital and Langney but in reality, it’s a more general problem and audits should be undertaken. Pedestrians and cyclists are deterred by the very real threat posed by speed of vehicles at roundabouts.

Wishing that traffic would just evaporate? It does – and here are clues to explain the key to urban utopia!
Hammersmith Bridge across the River Thames has been closed for repairs since April 2019 at which time it was carrying 20,000 vehicles a day. A huge amount of traffic has consequently ‘reassigned’ to alternative routes across the Thames: Chiswick and Kew bridges are carrying an extra 5,000 and 2,000 vehicles respectively while Putney, Wandsworth and Battersea bridges are handling another 7,000 between them (Local Transport Today,784 25th October). Totting this up, have the missing 6,000 vehicles simply disappeared? It could be the same ‘evaporation’ phenomenon that has been observed in other places in the UK and Europe where there have been controversial road closures and where initial strong opposition has itself evaporated. Fears of chaos were shown to be unfounded as the benefits of reduced congestion and fewer vehicles overall became apparent as an improved urban environment was appreciated by the general public. Cambridge, Wolverhampton, Oxford and Vauxhall in the UK and Nuremburg, Ghent and Strasbourg in Europe all experienced the same results. (European Commission case studies 2004 – ISBN92-894-3478-3). The ‘evaporation’ has been partly explained and factors include: drivers not making inessential trips; a switch to available alternatives – including car sharing; appreciation of economies and quality of life in making fewer journeys. There’s a strong suggestion here that reducing road space in whatever way reduces traffic which sounds like good news to us! Can we have more of this medicine? The evidence for ‘traffic evaporation’ has been around for many years but pressure for more road space seems undiminished. That must change. For a start, the promotion of a Lewes to Polegate motorway style A27 highway supported by some out of touch politicians must be a candidate for the award: ‘Scheme most irrelevant to the needs of current and future generations’. (See previous post October, 2018 for TRL Graph showing most effective ways to reduce town centre traffic).

The first would remove opportunities to enjoy the second, and the second seems to us to be a universal human right delivering environmental, health, economic and social benefits. Politicians are wary of restricting drivers’ freedoms, but often seem to be accepting of the need to do so. Evidence proving the benefits of restricting and therefore reducing traffic is abundant and the huge negative consequences of failing to do so are obvious, not least in the areas of ‘climate change’, public health, degraded living spaces, lost and fragmented habitats, despoiled landscapes and of course obstruction of all sustainable forms of transport. so, come on politicians, don’t keep promising ever more roads with distracting technical fixes because they will deliver nothing less than chaos, destruction and an appalling quality of life for generations.

RECENT RESEARCH, alongside Transport for New Homes checklist:
The Centre for Research into Energy Demand Scenarios (CREDS) report ‘Shifting the Focus’ includes the following:
Real-world performance
Until recently, the EU mandatory regulations for new cars would appear to be a
resounding success for CO2 standards. The rate of reduction in official average tailpipe
CO2 values of new passenger cars in the EU increased from roughly 1% per year to more
than 3% per year after their introduction in 2009. However, two factors mean this success is not all that it appears.

Firstly, there has been no improvement in tailpipe emissions in the UK since 2015 and
average level of CO2 emissions of new cars sold in September 2018 was 128.3 gCO2/
km, the highest recorded since July 2013. A switch away from diesel only accounts for a
small proportion of this increase, the main culprit being the swing over the past decade
towards larger passenger cars, particularly SUVs (dual purpose vehicles) while the rest of the market declines (SMMT, 2018). SUVs now account for around a quarter of car sales in the UK with no sign of slowing down. Somewhat shockingly, this proportion holds true for electric vehicles (BEVs – Battery Electric Vehicles + PHEVs – Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles) – 25% of all the 32,048 plug-in cars registered by the end of 2017 comprised one make and model only (Mitsubishi Outlander) – an SUV in the form of a PHEV and one of the most polluting cars on the road when not driven on the electric battery.

Secondly, although the above figures suggest a 30% reduction in tailpipe CO2 emissions
since 2000, these are based on test cycle measurements. In practice, there has only
been an estimated 9% reduction in tailpipe emissions in real-world conditions, and
only 4% since 2010. The performance gap between official and real-world values has
grown over time, standing at 42% in 2016 (Teitge et al, 2017), although this gap has
now stabilised. This gap has effectively negated any reported savings from efficiency
improvements over the past decade.

See the report here: CREDS-Shifting-the-focus-July2019
Figures quoted in the CREDS report quoted from The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) define the ‘Transport Sector’ energy use as 23% attributable to aviation. Of the rest, Cars comprise 60% with HGVs and Vans 17% and 16% respectively and buses just 3%. The BEIS statistics are shown in this graphic:
Energy Use by Sector (CREDS)
If SUVs are the culprits within a larger context of failure to adopt ‘shared owner and ridership’, then they could be banned, at least that’s the (credible) suggestion of Peter Wilby in the New Statesman: SUV Ban P Wilby)

And for starters, maybe an advertising ban too?

SUV sales negate carbon savings from electric vehicles (CREDS Report) July 2019

Dinosaurs, Giraffes and Elephants (on the Titanic!)
This November saw the launch of a new dinosaur, aka SUV – the £158,000 DBX – from Aston Martin. Targeted at women, and in particular the Chinese market, the launch glossed over the carbon footprint – three times the emissions of a Ford Fiesta. Expect to see a sprinkling of these among the growing number of SUVs appearing in our country lanes, on our roads, and in what were once front gardens. Someone save us from this great waste of resources and degraders of space. Here are some pointers – again from CREDS – to the inefficiency of our car oriented policies:

• The average car is only in-use for 3–4% of the time.26
• Even in the morning peak, the largest proportion of the car fleet in use at any one time is just 15% (see Figure 2).27
• One-third of cars do not move at all in a given day and 8% do not move during a whole week.27
• 62% of car trips are done with a lone driver and the average car occupancy is just 1.55.28
• For commuting trips average car occupancy is only 1.2 which means an estimated 36 million empty car seats every morning on the commute.
• In total, over 2017, 621 billion empty vehicle seats moved around the UK.
• Given the average weight of a car today and the average occupancy levels we estimate that 910 kg of car are used to move every human (the average adult weighing just 76.5 kg).b,29 In pure weight terms, that is more than pulling a giraffe along behind a bicycle and, therefore, this requires substantial energy
(CREDS ‘Shared mobility: where now? Where next?’

Energy Consumption in the Transport Sector is 98% dependent on fossil fuels
And the Elephants on the Titanic?
See this interesting and strong presentation by Jillian Anable to the Universities Transport Study Group (UTSG) this July:
Anable_UTSG 2019_Elephants on the Titanic

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Report ‘Clean Growth – Technologies for meeting the UK’s emissions reduction targets‘ (July 2019) includes this from the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership:
…….in the long term, “we probably do not want 40 million very large electric cars circulating on our roads in the same way as we have 40 million vehicles currently” and the report itself concludes:
Our objective is not to have a lot of zero-emission vehicles on the road, but to
have zero-emission mobility. That can be delivered through a combination
of buses, cars, small L-category vehicles—not the current type—rail and
trams. We need to deliver a mobility system, not a fleet of vehicles.428

Yes please! Whatever the vehicles’ energy source, traffic volumes must decrease.

This is current with a deadline of 10th January (the same date as the TfSE consultation) and is subtitled ‘Direction of Travel’. CBT E Sussex has submitted comments on ‘transport/land use’ themes covering topics such as: safe walking/cycling routes to services/shops/schools and colleges/health facilities/; School run mayhem/aggressive and intimidating driving styles; travel plan implementation before completion of developments; traffic noise and air poluution; comprehensive, integrated public transport service improvements;pocket parks linked to road closures;housing denisties to support sustainable travel; SUV bans; parking reduction and alternative use of space; restoration of front gardens; pavement parking; measures to secure massive reduction in road casualties.
Here is a link to the documents:

We keep a regular check on the level of usage of the Lottbridge Drove pedestrian/cycle crossing. In the peak hour 7.45 – 8.45 a consistent level of use appears to hold up through the seasons with almost 100 people walking or cycling via this facility. Figures are sent to East Sussex County Council to amplify the message that this is a valuable facility. Around a third of users of the cycleway are on their way to school with half using the crossing and the remainder travelling to Hampden Park or Ratton. The success needs replicating on a much larger scale with many more supportive measures. But even in this location, a recent report of a car passing the red light and narrowly missing a pedestrian highlights the universal problem of frequent and unchallenged careless, dangerous and intimidating driving styles and endemic bad behaviour such as mobile phone usage by drivers as they drive. The current hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists must become a thing of the past or the mode shift we seek and which is essential will remain beyond our grasp.

Now into the third year since restoration of the Sunday 349 service, passenger numbers are holding up northbound and southbound with regular users and on two occasions in October and November groups of hikers boarded at Hastings for Bodiam comprising 17 and 27 members respectively. This – and other matters – were discussed at the Hawkhurst Transport Accessibility Group at their AGM and Christmas dinner at the Queen’s Inn, Hawkhurst in early December. This service is reliable and the drivers know their routes well. Unfortunately, the Arriva 5 service has featured breakdowns during the week on its double deckers serving the Sandhurst – Maidstone route. This was reported to Kent County Council officer who attended the meeting. One member suggested that a link to Sissinghurst National Trust castle/gardens should be restored to offer an alternative to the car, and access for all.There are 200,000 visitors a year to this beautiful property. Hawkhurst Village Magazine carried this piece from member Gillian Davis:

The group continues to meet quarterly and has continued to develop/promote measures to reduce traffic impact with Stagecoach offering staff discounted bus travel and pool cars playing a role in reducing carbon emissions. Cycling and walking route maps are in preparation and a cross site staff shuttle bus service is in advanced stages of discussion with bus operators. It is also hoped to secure a faster public bus link between Eastbourne, Hastings and including Bexhill.

FINALLY, TRAVEL LOG LEWES NEWS will be of interest to many……..

Derrick Coffee, Campaign for Better Transport – East Sussex

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A27 – New bus service and ‘joined up thinking’? Scate Update. Transport for New Homes. Eastbourne/Hastings Planning: aspirations and decisions. Hastings/Bexhill Bus Lanes and Bus Users’ Group. Parking on Bus Stops Stops? Rural Buses – elsewhere! Rail Matters. DEFRA Review on National Parks’ and AONBs’ accessibility.

A pilot study into the potential for a new bus service along the A27 was launched on 18th January in Lewes Town Hall by Campaign for Better Transport. The well attended event was in the form of a workshop with consultants, council officers, Highways England staff, bus operators and SCATE (South Coast Alliance for Transport and Environment) members and bus user groups contributing to discussions. These were around route and scheduling opportunities, locations and quality of bus stops, crossings, integration with other bus and rail services, future transport hubs, planned and existing developments and information provision. The study is taking place in tandem with a study in Bristol. We await the results and recommendations with interest, but already, Brighton and Hove Buses are planning a 2019 summer Sunday service between Brighton and Eastbourne via the A27 and including (among others) a stop at Drusillas. There are considerable numbers of South Downs/Low Weald walking routes that will be made more accessible through the introduction of this service.

We submitted initial thoughts on the idea prior to the meeting. Included among these were concerns that the services should integrate with the proposals in the Hailsham – Polegate – Willingdon – DGH/Colleges – Eastbourne ‘sustainable transport corridor’ whose proposed bus lanes/cycle and pedestrian infrastructure features – if planned holistically – would benefit all bus services east-west and north south as well as integrating with all ‘sustainable modes’ including rail services. Healthier too and delivering much better value for (public) money!

…but first, give us the buses!

The wider questions around failure to integrate spatial planning (housing), with sustainable transport networks, are addressed below.

Our initial thoughts are here:
bus service a27 lewes mtg

Aside from taking part in the valuable ‘A27 Bus’ ongoing workshop, we have given a presentation on the SCATE Strategy to Eastbourne Friends of the Earth and await a response and date from Eastbourne Borough Council who have agreed to a meeting.

Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd has been approached with a request to provide us with a copy of the draft ‘Business Case’ for the off-line dual carriageway proposal; it has been withheld but that may be about to change. Transport and Planning magazine ‘Local Transport Today’ (Issue 764) has been able to see ‘Agenda papers’ for most of the shadow transport authorities. The DfT supports this openness, as does England’s Economic Heartland director Martin Tugwell: “We publish on the basis that we think it’s good practice to be open and transparent about the work of a transport forum, the issues being discussed and the debates being held,” he said. Now the two reticent Boards (our own South East, and Midlands Connect) have apparently decided to ‘open up’. We look forward to that.

TRANSPORT FOR NEW HOMES – TFNH. (see also previous post)
Too often overlooked, opportunities for communities in new developments to be well served by public transport and walking and cycle networks are ignored instead of being ‘built in’ to the planning process to ensure the highest possible take-up of sustainable, healthy modes of travel. We are instead saddled with a transport hierarchy with the car at the top, thus undermining all other modes of transport and creating ‘car dependent’ developments. Result: congestion from day one and poor quality living spaces dominated by parked vehicles at each end of the trip. This is certainly true of Wealden District Council who have forged ahead with undue haste in developments north of Eastbourne in recent times, without securing walking and cycling links and a bus network to serve needs of all residents, also exemplified by the loss of the opportunity to provide the growing community of Stone Cross/North Langney with a railway station in the 1980s. (*See Rail Matters below) There is a growing movement among transport and spatial planners to recognise major failures, over time and such as this in UK planning practice.

A further very well attended TFNH event was held this Tuesday – 22nd Jan – in London – at which progress so far and ongoing work were explained. Chaired by Stephen Joseph, OBE, former CEO of Campaign for Better Transport and now Trustee of the Foundation for Integrated Transport (FIT), the keynote speech was delivered by Lynda Addison, Chair of the Sustainable Transport Panel of the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation (CIHT), who expressed alarm at the practice of allowing the developers to determine sites for new housing rather than the planning authorities, while consultant Tim Pharoah described his current work on devising a checklist through which the sustainability of any development proposals can be measured – and hopefully – secured. Other speakers included TFNH Trustees Jenny Raggett and Joey Talbot who were summoned to No 10 to brief the Prime Minister’s Housing Advice Team on the principles being promoted by the organisation – encouraging indeed for those of us who’d like to see these matters moving up the agenda.

See here the ‘Transport for New Homes’ website: full of examples of good practice, identified problems and unassailable logic!

Transport for New Homes – Bringing transport and planning …

Lynda Addison addresses the TFNH delegates

An appreciative audience were given much to think about…

And, on the above theme, the former Bathing Pool site at West St Leonards is the subject of plans for 152 houses and ‘leisure facilities’, while the Moy Avenue, Eastbourne site (a former BT site) is subject of a planning application for 72 new homes*. Whatever schemes are eventually given the go-ahead, it must be hoped that they demonstrate and act upon an awareness of and commitment to sustainable transport potential. The West Marina site sits right alongside a cycleway and promenade, a bus route which is being further enhanced and developed, and a potential site for a reopened railway station. The Eastbourne site sits very close to a new and emerging cycle/pedestrian route between Langney, Bridgmere, Hampden Park and the Town Centre with connections to three schools, a bus route and employment site. They’ll all have a potential to generate traffic: let’s hope it’s foot,cycle, bus and rail traffic and not of the motorised congesting sort.
*The Eastbourne Herald of 25th January reports that proposals were given consent for flats and maisonnettes with 88 parking places – 50% above the standard recommended by East Sussex County Council (ESCC). While secure parking for 95 cycles is also recommended, the traffic generated may prevent a take-up of cycling options and in any case, Courtlands Road already often experiences intimidating and poor driver behaviour likely to encourage car based school run and other short car trips. We have submitted a letter to ESCC and Eastbourne Borouh Council (EBC) to question the decision and additionally to point out that £40,000 currently sits unspent in the EBC coffers for cycling measures. It’s in the revenue budget so vulnerable to being raided.

Our letter is here:

eastbourne planning issues jan 19

On Tuesday 13th December last an invited group councillors, bus users, Department for Transport (DfT) officials caught a Stagecoach 99 ‘Wave’ ‘low emission’ bus from Hastings to Bexhill for a view of the first phase of the long awaited bus lanes on Bexhill Road (A259 see photo below). We attended and took part in a ‘networking’ coffee break in the DeLaWarr Pavilion before travelling back to Hastings station. DfT members included the Director of Buses and Taxis at the Department. Design work on the second phase of the bus priority measures, including additional stretches of bus lanes is reportedly being completed by East Sussex County Council (Hastings Observer, January 18th). Currently – and with encouragement from Stagecoach Buses and the Hastings Sustainable Transport Group – we are trying to set up a ‘bus users’ group for Hastings and Bexhill areas. There is already a ‘support group’ that meets in Hawkhurst (Kent) at the north end of the Hastings – Hawkhurst/Cranbrook 349 route which includes East Sussex members and they will be invited to share experience and give positive support, while in Battle on Friday 1st February at a Rother Voluntary Action meeting, we will be canvassing support for the Hastings/Bexhill area users’ group at its start-up. Please contact Derrick* if you would like to join or even simply be kept ‘in the loop’. Photos below: Sunday 349 at Bodiam en route to Cranbrook; View near Hawkhurst. This successfully restored Sunday service is holding its own. *

Hastings – Cranbrook Sunday bus at Bodiam in December

High Weald view from walk by bus 349 December 2018

The bus lanes will certainly perform a valuable role when the large scale housing developments in north Bexhill come on stream provided that those developments are well served by public transport with high quality pedestrian and cycle links – and a full range of measures to incentivise their useage. The bus is part of the future.

Some good news for bus users in Bexhill and Rother in general: the era of bus users – including elderly and disabled citizens – struggling to get on and off the bus due to cars freely and frequently parked on the bus stops, may be coming to an end, with ESCC taking over parking enforcement. This quite disgusting and uncivil practice has been tolerated for far too long and the change will be welcome.

The Party on Board the 99

In rural Ireland, steps have been taken to introduce 50 bus routes serving rural communities: services include evening buses. Any lessons here for East Sussex I wondered? Here’s a link to the news item on RTE:

An extension of the rural transport programme will see 50 new bus services across 19 counties rolled out as part of a six-month pilot programme, Minister for Transport Shane Ross has announced.

The extension to the rural transport programme comes as Mr Ross accused rural TD of attempting to use “filibuster” tactics block the passage of his latest Road Traffic Bill. Envisaged is a total of 188 extra trips a week on the rural transport network with 50 new services – including 20 extensions to existing services – operating in some cases up to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Passengers will pay a nominal fee while travel pass holders and pensioners will travel for free. Mr Ross said the Bill is aimed at tackling social isolation.

The cost of the move for six months from the end of June to the end of December is estimated at €450,000. At the end of the pilot scheme the take up will be analysed before any decision to continue the scheme is made.

Intending passengers will be offered the facility of booking seats on a range of services whose routes will be subject to demand.

In total, 19 counties have been included in the pilot programme with eight services to be deployed in Co Kerry alone. Mr Ross has said all rural transport services which applied for additional services were facilitated by the pilot programme, as would any late applications received in the coming weeks.

The routes in the 19 counties set to benefit include; Co Wexford (12 routes), Co Kerry (eight routes), Carlow/Kilkenny/Wicklow (six routes), Cavan/Monaghan (five routes), Donegal (four routes), Laois/Offaly (three routes), Cork (three routes), Waterford (three routes), Louth/Meath/Fingal (two routes), Tipperary (two routes) and Kildare (one route).

After a trial, the NTA said that the majority of the services were performing well. Sounds like Ireland has a funded national rural bus strategy. We could do with one!

‘Rail improvement’ works seem to proliferate and provide unwelcome surprises throughout the year, often appearing in the ‘small print’ on station noticeboards to catch you out in late evening weekday services. Some of us in East Sussex dream of major investment in track and new stations some of which are the subject of the BML2 scheme for the county and West Kent which offers rail rather than road based development opportunities and gives essential relief for the Brighton Main Line, so often afflicted with planned and random closures and delays. It’s not unusual for East Sussex to be without any direct rail links to London. This was the case on Sunday 27th January. It is enlightening to see the BML2 scheme’s three phases for new (and restored) links between the Sussex Coast, West Kent, London and beyond. We dare to hope. Here’s the link:

Locally, we still haven’t given up on plans for new stations at Stone Cross (see above) and Glyne Gap (Ravenside, Bexhill/Hastings). The Willingdon Chord – a new, short stretch of line between Stone Cross and Polegate providing opportunities for new services avoiding the journey into and out of Eastbourne – would also be very useful. Eastbourne would not lose any services however. The ‘chord’ would use a span of Jubilee Way (A22) road over rail bridge already built for the purpose but currently idle – so money wasted there. There could also be freight on rail opportunities on this direct east-west chord, and Stone Cross station would become even more viable than it is anyway. A picture of the vacant bridge span is here (it’s the one with the mural of a face!):

Let’s face it, we need the Willingdon Chord!


For those who are interested, here’s our response to the DEFRA consultation:

defra my_response-9

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Building new roads such as the ‘off-line’ A27 to solve congestion is not – and never has been – the answer. To counter the outdated, expensive and highly damaging (to health, the economy, environment, climate, civilised socety) ‘roads first’ mindset of most of our politicians, SCATE has engaged with transport planning consultants and the University of the West of England to find an integrated approach for the South Coast designed to meet the needs of all sections of society and deliver huge benefits across a range of policies. Here it is being presented to Stephen Lloyd, Lib Dem MP for Eastbourne by Derrick Coffee (CBT East Sussex) and David Johnson (CPRE Sussex):

Eastbourne MP Accepts the SCATE Report

The SCATE report – ‘A New Transport Vision for the Sussex Coast’ first launched in early summer, is now accompanied by a ‘Briefing’ which summarises the report. Commissioned by SCATE from consultants ‘ITP – Integrated Transport Planning’, the report has been widely circulated and both documents are now on the SCATE website – along with a short animated presentation illustrating key principles. Links to the ‘Vision’ and the ‘Briefing’ are here:

Scate ‘Vision’ Report
SCATE Briefing

October the 10th saw the SCATE report being offered to Lilian Greenwood, MP, Chair of the Select Committee on Transport – story here:

L and R: Derrick Coffee and Kay Wagland of SCATE with Lilian Greenwood MP, Chair of the Transport Select Committee

Kay with London Borough of Waltham Forest ‘Mini Holland’ cycle team. The scheme has transformed cycle infrastructure and increased cycle useage in the Borough

– and with Keith Buchan of TPS and Stephen Joseph, until recently long serving CEO of Campaign for Better Transport and panel judge of entries.

Adopting the principles of the SCATE study would seem now to be a logical step in the light of the initial projections by Highways England for the ‘value for money’ of an off-line option: ‘poor, low or medium’ were the adjectives used in the appraisal. Instead, possibly harried by the promoters, consultants WSP have been asked to have another look at the scheme and see if they can improve the results.

SCATE Campaign – Position in October, 2018
In the west at Arundel, the Highways England ‘preferred route’ for an Arundel bypass has been announced. As this would destroy a large area of designated ‘ancient woodland’ and damage a large area locally of the National Park, objections have been made by several organisations and many individuals. Judicial Reviews are timetabled for the end of November, and surprisingly, Highways England have announced in the last few days that a further ‘non-statutory’ consultation will be carried out in Spring 2019.

A little to the east, close to the River Adur, a well used and popular pedestrian, cycle and equestrian crossing of the A27 at Sussex Pad – good sustainable access to the National Park here – is threatened with closure if a development at Monks Farm goes ahead. To secure its future and avoid impractical detours, it is possible to oppose the plan and request that the scheme is ‘called in’ for a full Inquiry. Here is a link to guide you if you would support this action:

Support for £75m* Improvements to Existing A27
The Lewes to Eastbourne section, with its already committed £72m (was £75m) improvements will deliver better cycle infrastructure along its length with junction improvements allowing cross A27 movements at key points. *£3m was abstracted from the scheme to fund a Highways England study into a new and entirely ‘off-line’ road which we strongly oppose. The very significant extra capacity created by such an ‘off-line’ scheme would generate large volumes of new traffic over the wider area and drive yet more ‘car based’ developments, difficult to serve by public transport and hostile to walking and cycling. Its close proximity to the National Park would have a degrading effect on unique landscapes, habitats and heritage.

Just south of the A27 on the A259, reducing road capacity to introduce bus lanes has increased bus use by 55,000 passengers a week and reduced traffic volumes by 3,000 vehicles per day! (see previous post). We look forward to the delivery of the committed improvements on the existing A27 and are calling for a return of the £3m to ensure the best quality of the measures proposed. Given the success of the Brighton bus lanes (see below), could the returned £3m be used to help a potentially effective string of bus priority measures along the A27 between Polegate and Lewes? The are no buses operating along this route but maybe a high frequency, limited stop service Eastbourne/Hailsham to Lewes/Brighton could greatly expand the public transport offer east-west. The proposed bus priority measures on the Hailsham – Polegate – Willingdon – Eastbourne corridor (see below) would give the bus a headstart on westward journeys and similarly speed the return trip. A number could be equipped to carry cycles for utility or recreational trips.

New A27 – An Attack on Sustainable Modes
A less obvious effect of the increased volumes of traffic on any new ‘off-line’ A27 would be to severely reduce the efficient operation of the proposed Hailsham – Polegate – Willingdon – Eastbourne sustainable transport corridor. Welcome and necessary measures proposed along this north-south axis include: bus lanes/priority measures; a ‘gold standard’ frequent bus service; new cycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Funding is committed for this set of measures and with luck, they are should be operating well before the ‘wrecking ball’ of a new A27 wreaks its havoc….unless the money is diverted to some other road scheme! It has to be said though that the gestation period of this more ‘sustainable’ strategy is already almost 12 years without any of it on operation; and the ‘car friendly’ housing developments north of Eastbourne have gone on apace with sustainable transport lagging behind or non-existent, while comprehensive sustainable access to the District General Hospital and adjacent Further Education college is a long way off its full potential and even being blocked by some local politicians.

Area Wide adoption of ‘Small, cheap and numerous high ‘value for money’ pedestrian, cycle and bus priority measures are the key
Support for the ‘off-line’ A27 route drowns out completely any well founded calls for better alternatives – small, cheap, numerous and consistently offering high ‘value for money’. It’s always the big and expensive ‘vanity schemes’ that get the headlines, but large numbers of smaller pedestrian and cycle routes plus bus priority measures deliver quick wins if supported by comparatively modest resources. The Horseye Sewer cycle/pedestrian way in Eastbourne, though not yet wholly functioning from Langney to the town centre, is an example.

Great! But we need more and quickly!
This east-west route connects residential areas with three schools – two primary and one secondary – and also links with a north-south cycleway from Hampden Park to the sea (NCN 21) from which there is a branch west to FE colleges and the District General Hospital. The ‘cherry on the cake’ is a ‘Toucan’ crossing linking east and west sections of the Horseye Sewer route across the very busy Lottbridge Drove.In late September on a school day between 7.55 and 8.55, I counted 18 student and 16 adult cyclists using the crossing and 16 student and 23 adult pedestrians. The largest component of student cyclists are almost certainly from St Katherine’s secondary school in Langney. It is evidently popular with students and parents delivering/collecting their children and in some stretches, is akin to a walk in the countryside – peaceful and with lots to see near and far. More such routes are desperately needed to give children the freedom to make their own way to school and college, and tackle the unwelcome and unhealthy tides of ‘school run’ traffic. It’s also useful for those who wish to walk or cycle to work: “I used to drive to work but the crossing has given me the chance to buy an bike and cycle to work” said one female adult cyclist.

Horseye Cycle/Pedestrian Route 1

Healthy trip home

..always something to catch your eye

TRANSPORT FOR NEW HOMES – a guide for local planning and transport authorities published by the Foundation for Integrated Transport, with help from the RAC Foundation- examines 20 residential developments in the UK and three in The Netherlands to assess their location and design from a transport perspective in the face of a growing popularity for greenfield developments designed around the needs of the car. The authors say the design standards of many greenfield housing developments do nothing to encourage active travel or public transport. There is good analysis of reasons for ‘bad practice’ in the guide and a plea for coordinated delivery of sustainable infrastructure with assured funding from the DfT, and good economic and geographical analysis in deciding where to build – avoiding a target-led approach which arbitrarily consumes land.

The guide is here:transport-for-new-homes-summary-web

Road capacity is the measure of potential accommodation of a road in terms of numbers of vehicle trips that could be taken on its length or part length. Traditionally, we’ve tried (and failed) to tackle congestion by building more and bigger roads which then have filled up with more newly generated traffic. But…..we now know that when we reduce road capacity for cars, it can ease things for everyone. ‘Fill the bus, clear the traffic!’ say Brighton and Hove Buses:

From our previous post, you can see the evidence on the ground showing Brighton and Hove Buses performance with bus lanes superimposed on existing road space leading to 55,000 more (and faster!) bus passengers per week and 3,000 fewer vehicles per day. Car park space is also ‘road space’ at each end of the trip. Removing some of this ‘dead’ space is seen by major consultants Jacobs as a key to town centre regeneration and also part of the solution to the housing shortage: former town centre car parks could be used to provide new town centre homes which would be within walking distance of many services and increase their viability.

In fact, the most effective method of reducing town centre traffic has been shown to be removing parking in towns (see post Jan 2016 on ‘Parking’ – TRL Research and Jacobs Consulting presentation; and April 2018 on Brighton and Hove Buses bus-lane effect). The TRL Graphic is repeated here:

Removing parking may also produce opportunities for pedestrian and cycle links, small retail operations and of course greenery – and most likely, tranquillity where it’s needed most. Pocket parks and conditions for informal childrens’ play could expand. Interventions working together are likely to produce the best results: limiting parking, transfer of roadspace to non-car modes, better bus services, integrated with rail, higher quality urban design, and incentives such as fuel duty increases and/or road use charging give a chance of traffic reduction. Simply improving alternatives to the car as suggested by the Freight Transport Association and many others, will have a limited effect on its own. New realities – such as a discernible slowing of car ownership, and imperatives to massively cut carbon emissions – more strongly than ever restated this month in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC report) – should give impetus to new thinking. I didn’t mention reinstatement of front gardens, but that may come later – we’ve already losts thousands.

We submitted comments on the above plan during the consultation period. The deadline was 8th October, the date of the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report – and we pointed out this important event to Wealden District Council (WDC). For our organisation, the effects and their, alongside rapid decarbonisation of our poorly performing transport system, are at the core of all our campaigning. We have suggested that aspirations for a new off-line A27 are removed from the plan and that efforts to develop sustainable and integrated transport networks and to incentivise their take-up are pursued with imagination, passion and commitment by all authorities and agencies to trigger behavioural change on a large scale. There should be no more ‘car dependent’ housing developments for a start. (See above report). There are good words in the plan but priorities need rearranging. The plan, and our response (summarised at the end) are below:


CBT Response to Wealden Plan Final

We have submitted our views on this issue. Some of the suggestions sit alongside our comments on the Wealden Local Plan submission (espcially those concerning public transport) but go wider than those. You can see the comments we made here – as well as a map of the High Weald AONB:

Gove Review 6 Sept 18

There are big gaps in the rural bus services of East Sussex though the county has fared better than many. One reversal of a cut to Sunday services has been the restored Sunday service linking Hastings – Sedlescombe – Bodiam – Sandhurst – Hawkhurst – Cranbrook, with a connection to Maidstone on the Arriva 5. This service has been running for 18 months now and we’ve recently had the good news that it will run through the coming winter, and summer 2019. The announcement came from Stagecoach in September. There is a growing community of users and for many of those using the service the journey itself is an enjoyable social occasion. Self evidently, the bus trip can be an antidote to loneliness – a subject much discussed recently in Westminster and the media. The route also gives a boost to promote ‘sustainable tourism’ – tourism without traffic! A link to the blog announcing the successful continuation is here:

Stephen Joseph has been our CEO for thirty years, heading transport campaigns that have changed transport policy direction away from overwhelmingly car based thinking and towards policies that recognise and amplify the benefits of walking, cycling, buses and trains in improving everyone’s quality of life. His sharp mind and persuasive manner have given him a place in many high level discussion and policy making forums where his contributions (laced with wit and humour) have been greatly respected and valued. We’re hugely grateful for his huge and sustained efforts – and his support and encouragement of our efforts in East Sussex. Happily, we are certain that we haven’t heard the last of him! We wish his successor – Darren Shirley – the very best in the hot seat and look forward to working with him.


Campaign for Better Transport – East Sussex
01323 646866
0795 1084436
9 Mayfield Place, Eastbourne. BN22 8XJ

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Designed and presented in the ESCC Local Transport Plan 2000, the bus lanes were intended to be an important element in the three planned ‘quality bus corridors’. These would run:

1.St Leonards, Silverhill, Hollington, and The Ridge via Battle Road/Sedlescombe Road North
2.The Ridge
3.Central Bexhill (including a station interchange) via Glyne Gap to Ore via town centre

These were only partly dependent on the then bypasses being built and could have gone ahead even in a ‘no bypass’ scenario. No 1 was completed but 2 and 3 were not.

Bus lanes were promised again (plus new stations) in the February 2004 consultation on the Link Road (then @£47m, up from £24m estimate of 2002, now £126m). No 3 was a condition of planning consent for the Link Road in 2009 and should have opened in 2015 along with the Link Road.

The 2004 Tabloid Consultation

Traffic was predicted to fall after Link Road opening in December 2015 and did so. This was the moment when the bus lanes should have begun operating to take advantage of the freed up road space before the inevitable recovery of traffic levels. Reliability of the buses would increase, more buses would run and these would be the most modern and clean ‘low emission’ vehicles. More bus passengers would be attracted and the growth in car commuting/school run traffic would be stemmed or reversed.
No such luck. Elsewhere in East Sussex and into Brighton, bus lanes have transformed travel behaviour and people have flocked to the bus as an attractive alternative.

In 2007, between Newhaven and Brighton, the average daily two way vehicle flow was 28,000. In 2017, the figure was 25,000 – a fall of 11%. During that time, following the introduction of bus lanes and more buses on the 12 and 14 routes, bus ridership grew from 73,000 per week to 122,000. Currently, in the morning peak hour on this A259 route, 45% of those travelling into Brighton are on a bus – and buses comprise just 2% of the traffic. That’s a success story. Bus lanes work.

Decrease in traffic

Increased passenger numbers

The start of construction of the bus lanes has been delayed on several occasions, most recently in November. We now learn that the first phase of bus lane will begin construction in “May/June” – though that is now in doubt – and so could be opened for buses some months later, close to 3 years after the Link Road opened. The final phase may not be ready for some time after that so the completion could be four years late. That means higher traffic levels as the ‘car commute’ habit grows, and fewer passengers on the bus which will increasingly suffer delays due to the absence of the bus lanes. It is extremely disappointing, as is the editorial in the Hastings Observer which questions spending £450,000 on the bus facilities: the Link Road cost is currently running at 252 times that of the bus lanes at £126,000,000. With a less car focussed transport agenda, political will, and for less than 10% of the road costs, we could have had the new station at Glyne Gap/Ravenside, extensive cycle infrastructure, and many short car trips would have transferred to bike, bus and rail. The health benefits of such an approach are obvious yet sidelined, and with a £3m cut to the original £12m for walking and cycling measures for Hastings and Bexhill to plug a recently discovered funding gap for the increasingly expensive Queensway Gateway Road, commitment to sustainable and healthy transport choices looks very weak.

Jacobs Consultancy (employed by ESCC on the Link Road project) found in a study of 2011 that bus priority schemes (inlcuding bus lanes) had an average benefit to cost ratio of 5.4:1. That’s around three times higher than the Link Road itself. (Value for money of Small Scale Public Transport Schemes, Jacobs, 2011). In Hastings and Bexhill the value for money could be even higher given the predominance of short car journeys. Let’s have the bus lanes as soon as possible.

The Jacobs report can be seen here:


These are planned – along with cycleways – on this busy A22 corridor, part of the Eastbourne ‘travel to work area’. There is lukewarm backing from local councillors however (see below), even though the county council have put some energy into the plan development, part funded by the South East Local Enterprise Parnership (SELEP). There would (say the ESCC plan statistics) be a 67% journey time increase on this corridor by 2027 if no measures were provided, while with the measures, the increase in journey time would be 47% i.e. – less worse. This is of course due to the predicted housing developments north of Eastbourne in Wealden District, and the consequent increases in traffic. However, with the whole range of high quality alternatives made available to give real transport choice, and demand management solutions applied, the increases in journey times would fall from those far from impressive percentages. That would take political courage which is in short supply. A whole new ‘off line’ A27 would wreck the whole scheme and mean that its almost ten year gestation period would have been wasted. A situation where high volumes of ‘new A27’ traffic collided with the north-south ‘sustainable transport corridor’ along the A22 can only mean ‘traffic mayhem’. Both current MP, Stephen Lloyd, and past MP Caroline Ansell favour the potentially disastrous ‘big new road’ option.

Hansard of March 8th 2018 featured debates on issues around diminishing numbers of passengers and services in rural areas:
Baroness Sugg (Con), Under Secretary of State at the DfT:

“What is the answer? The best answer is encouraging more people to use buses. It is still the best form of regular high-capacity transport that we have. Unlike rail, a bus can go virtually anywhere, and a bus service can be set up very quickly and at a fraction of the cost of rail. But buses need help to achieve this. One solution is to improve traffic in the key corridors used by buses, and one of the most effective ways is to give them priority over traffic. The sight of a bus cruising past lines of stationary cars or getting ahead of the queue at a junction is a much better advertisement and certainly sends a clear message to motorists. Priority measures offer good value for money, and we are funding many bus projects up and down the country through the Local Growth Fund. There are rapid transit schemes in Slough, Reading and Swindon and bus priority corridors in Manchester and Birmingham, which are genuinely innovative projects that are making a big difference in some of our busiest towns and cities. Busways, which provide dedicated corridors only to buses, such as in Cambridge and Luton, are also extremely effective and have the ridership to prove it”.

Other peers joined in – the Earl of Arran (Con):
The further isolation of our rural communities is something that this Committee should deplore, but why? In addition to social mobility, many people are now struggling to reach the basic services most of us take for granted, including shops, education and health. It is estimated that 400,000 people are in work or in a better job because of the availability of a bus service. Fifty per cent of students are frequent bus users for access to education and training. Our economists calculate that bus commuters generate £64 billion of economic benefit per year, with bus users making shopping and leisure trips worth £27.2 billion per year.

Lord Bradshaw (LD):
That brings us to the fundamental question of why so much is done in cities to encourage car use and so little to facilitate bus operation. Is it because of the intense pressure from the motoring lobby or the cowardice of politicians nationally or locally—local authorities vie with each another to attract cars to their shops with offers of highly subsidised parking, often ignoring the land values attaching to city-centre car parks—or is it because of an unwillingness to get tough with obstructive parking? When all these advantages are weighed in any objective assessment, what advantage does the bus have and who speaks for the bus user? In this situation, should not government, local or national, try to redress the balance effectively?

Lord Kennedy (Lab Co-op)
buses are an important lifeline for people, and the decline in bus use outside London is a serious problem that is affecting the viability of communities, particularly rural communities and those areas in our towns and cities less well served by other modes of transport, as they strive to be sustainable……Bus use and the provision of bus services have to be part of integrated services to make communities viable. Their decline is doing huge damage. The noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, spoke about car use and car parking. Work is going on to deter this but, as he said, it is not matched by a good bus service being in place to encourage people to get out of their cars and on to buses.

Lots of sense there and good cross party consensus. We don’t need constantly threatenend and diminishing bus services linking country and town. We need bus development. The new South East Transport Board should get to grips with bus issues: buses are part of the future.

We are delighted to report that the 349 Sunday service linking the beautiful High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to historic Hastings and the coast will be running 7 days a week until at least September. The service will be reviewed during that time to examine a case for continuation after that. In the meantime, a high priority will be given to raise awareness of the service and the opportunities it offers for days out in either direction. It has proved useful in making it possible for people to find employment, carry out social visits – important for all ages – enjoy recreational opportunities (Bodiam Castle, Kent and East Sussex Steam Railway, Boat Trips), and experience the inspiring landscapes that unfold along the journey. Nurseries, vineyards, hopgardens, country walks – and of course countless pub lunch offers in historic pubs – all are on offer along the way. With a bus connection with the No 5 at Cranbrook (Sundays) shopping trips to Hastings and Maidstone are once again possible.

Castle and Steam Train

Hop Poles and Vines

Cranbrook Street

Bus services are rarely mentioned in publicity material as a useful and convenient way to explore attractions across the region, yet they do connect urban and rural areas including tourist and recreational attractions. That needs addressing and we’ll be trying to do just that. Combined with available train services, great days out without a car are perfectly possible and far more relaxing and sociable.

A new website that advises on ‘car free’ journeys to beautiful places. With local guides’ coverage of beautiful, interesting and historic places failing dismally to advise on non-car access ‘Hello, Good Journey’ (link here) gives some help in this direction and also invites contributions from walkers, cyclists and bus and rail users to build a data base of non-car options. We’ll be forwarding the detail of the 349 bus and the possibilities opened up by the now 7 days a week service.
Good Journey – Contact
See also East Sussex and Lewes based information on this useful website:
TRAVEL LOG LEWES – Latest Travel Log Newsletter

The ‘£75m’ study output recommended junction and safety improvements, plus a continuous cycle/pedestrian path along its length and improved crossings for all non-motorised users at Drusillas roundabout and Wilmington crossroads. It has since become a £72m scheme, as £3m was syphoned off for a further study into a completely new ‘off-line’ A27 between Beddingham and Polegate: this study is underway. Also underway and almost complete is a study with no call upon the public purse into an alternative strategy for the entire ‘A27 corridor’ between Chichester and Polegate. This will be launched by SCATE before the summer and will consider all modes and their relative potential impacts – good and bad.We have a date and venue for the ‘local’ launch, giving a perspective on the Polegate – Beddingham – Eastbourne proposals: Lewes Town Hall, 21st April (Sat) 10.30 until 12.30 – doors open at 10.00.

The South Coast Alliance for Transport and Environment (SCATE) invite interested groups and individuals to the launch. Link here:

Without exception, promoters of expansion of road capacity cite ‘economic benefits’ as justification for the roads in question. As we now know, the last major expansion – the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road (BHLR) – included just that in its business case for the road. The Department for Transport’s assessment delivered a judgement at odds with that, giving it a rating of ‘medium to poor’ value for money, and hiding (until challenged with our appeal to the Information Commissioner) an alternative recommendation for a ‘public transport/demand management’ option that was set before the Secretary of State and which arguably would have been very much cheaper and better value for money. Before anyone had a chance to assess that alternative, Chancellor Osborne stepped in with a pre-emptive offer to fund the scheme which is now what we have – and massively over cost estimates.

Steve Melia at the University of the West of England has examined the question ‘Everyone says transport is good for the economy, but does anyone really know?’ You can read an article on the subject here:

We await the ‘one year after’ report on the BHLR with interest. The last predicted date for publication was December 2017 and there has clearly been slippage. There have also been adjustments in costs of all current road projects in Hastings/Bexhill as shown in the graph below:

Rising Costs – New County Roads

The increased costs predicted for the Queensway Gateway Road have led to a decision to use £3m of the £12m allocated Walking and Cycling budget. This could explain why a councillor due to give a presentation to Eastbourne, Rother and Hastings pedestrian/cycling organisations on cycle/walking plans in November, disappeared mysteriously from the agenda! ESCC officers gave assurances that progress won’t be held up in the early stages, but in fairness, we should be given the money back for justifiable healthy and sustainable transport as opposed to the unhealthy, unsustainable kind. We should seek assurances that the funds will be returned.

CYCLING CAMPAIGN GROUP – BRICYCLES – as its name suggests – is something to do with cycling in Brighton. But it’s much more than just that. With its comprehensive coverage of cycling as a modern, relevant, healthy and environmentally sustainable way to get around, it takes on a pretty wide remit extremely successfully and is expertly and confidently compiled. A well informed antidote to the pervasive ‘windscreenperspectiveitis’ that currently affects so many of our politicians! Have a look. Link here:

Bricycles News 114-1

In Eastbourne we are informed that despite budgets being substantially trimmed, a start will be made to implement the walking and cycling network improvements. We are pleased to see work in its final stages on the Lottbridge Drove – Langney roundabout section of foot/cycleway, thus completing an arc between Bridgemere (Stafford Junior School) and Langney. We hope that Ratton county councillors will reconsider their negative attitude to East Sussex County Council’s plans to create safe walking and cycling networks based on the congested Hailsham – Polegate – Eastbourne corridor where many would cycle (especially the young) to school, college, hospital, town and home. Councillors appear to have dismissed the plans altogether: they’ll be responsible for congestion and dirty air.
See Eastbourne cycling group’s website (BESPOKE) – Link here:
Bespoke Cycle Group – Safer Cycling In Eastbourne

Hosted by Rother District Council for maybe a decade, this group is being disbanded. The rationale for this is that by combining with a newly formed Hastings Transport Action Group, the inextricably linked transport needs of the three neighbouring towns of Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill will be better reflected in the decisions taken: this new entity will be known as HARTAG. The idea of such a combination has been around for 30 years and regularly suggested by CBT East Sussex. It was adopted for the purposes of securing funding for the controversial Link Road, but never spoken of when the issue of Glyne Gap/Ravenside new station came up. The composition of HARTAG will be quite different to the RTAG membership, with the parishes of Rother no longer having individual places at the table. We understand that ways of capturing their perspectives are being explored – as they should be – but with a more formal local authority presence (including ESCC) it’s uncertain to what degree official policies will govern deliberations or admit objectives wider than, but highly relevant to just ‘transport’. We thank RTAG members for their support in securing, at least for now, the 349 ‘Bodiam Sunday bus’ – notably highly relevant to Hastings as well as the quality of life of those living in the High Weald towns and villages.

One of the last votes (maybe the first one ever taken) of RTAG was on the subject of Rother District Council moving ahead with a ‘decriminalisation’of parking offences, allowing action at last to be taken by the authority on parking transgressions such as motorists parking on bus stops – a situation repeated many times daily on Bexhill’s two main shopping streets – Sackville and Devonshire Roads, and Battle High Street. It is common to see less able passengers struggling to the kerb because the bus stop is obstructed. The vote was overwhelmingly in favour of dealing with this selfish behaviour.

Eastbourne Friends of the Earth are hosting information on local air quality issues and also offering kits to the public and to schools for monitoring local air quality.
Further information here:… @friends_earth Clean Air Kit and on Twitter at:

The presentation of the new timetable (begins May) is here: Southern New TT Pres 3 18
Less worse than feared on Brighton – Ashford services: these will be Eastbourne – Ashford. Extra semi-fast trains Brighton – Hastings. This will address the frequent and severe overcrowding at several points on the route currently operated by two car diesels and provide more ‘seats’ east – west on the busiest section of route. We also had confirmed at the DeLaWarr presentation that there will be ‘safer’ late evening connections between Tunbridge Wells – Hastings services and Hastings – Eastbourne – Brighton trains. There would also remain capacity for extra coastway services should there be calls for services, and a business case built, to serve a new station at Glyne Gap/Ravenside.

Battle, Hastings, Eastbourne, Hailsham and almost certainly Crowborough are inline for £millions in funding for new housing schemes – some affordable (definition hazy) and with no mention in reports we saw of ‘social housing’. There are also significant funds promised for ‘infrastructure’ – major roads, a new school (Hailsham), etc.

New and existing homes for sale are now subjected to an ‘energy efficiency’ and ‘carbon footprint’ audit which features a graphic display. This shows for each category the actual and potential’ cost effectiveness’ of the dwelling and by implication, its ‘carbon footprint’. (See Below):

Energy Efficiency and Cost Effectiveness of Dwelling

The diagram gives only a partial picture of the ‘environmental impact’ of a dwelling, however. It doesn’t take account of the transport impact of the dwelling as reflected by the modes of transport adopted by those living in it on completion and in future years, or the impact of the whole development. For instance, on an estate where alternatives to the private car are poor and ownership and usage high, the diagram would be highly misleading and of limited value. It could be that a dwelling rated ‘high’ on both energy efficiency and low carbon emissions, but with high car usage, would score a significantly lower rating compared to the current system. Applied to a whole estate, we’d be heading in the wrong direction to achieve ‘sustainable housing’ served by all modes of ‘sustainable’, healthy transport. But the ‘estate wide’ performance would be the more useful measure for transport and land use planning purposes.
We have recommended to Stagecoach that for new housing developments on the edge of Hawkhurst – see photo –

Will there be a bus stop?

bus stops be provided, and that some of the value of the housing should be captured to support the local cross border bus services. All new developments should be designed to be easily served by public transport and to favour pedestrian and cycle movements over vehicle movements. That is not yet the case, and it has led Stagecoach to publish its own guide to developers. (see previous post link to ‘bus services and new developments’)

Figures for ‘killed and seriously injured’ (KSI) in the county continue to be of concern: they are not improving. The recently released figures for 2017 show KSI at the 4th highest since 2008 (370) while fatalities at 26 are the second highest since 2008. We wrote to Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne asking about developments nationwide in improving matters. Our letter is here, along with a response from a member of her staff:
Katy Bourne Letter and the response:
Katy Bourne ReplyRoad Casualties
The link to the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership site is here, and well worth examining through the ‘data portal’ button:

Welcome to Sussex Safer Roads Partnerships | SSRP
‘SSRP is a collective that uses combined
expertise to make the roads safer and reduce collisions. Together, our aim is to “
Create a safer environment for all road users, significantly reduce life-changing
injuries and eliminate fatalities.” Find out more about the partnership’.

The related issue of conditions in East Sussex (and other) lanes where powerful vehicles need not defer to each other (or pedestrians and cyclists) but can just ‘power their way through’ results in damaged verges that offer no refuge. A challenge to any such driving style is often met with an outburst of obscene language. It makes walking in lanes far less pleasurable than it should be. Why should we permit this? Photo of lane near Etchingham with large puddles on damaged verges.

Damaged verge – a result of poor driving styles that discourages walking and cycling.

Campaign For Better Transport: Campaigns
After 30 years as CEO of Campaign for Better Transport (formerly Transport 2000), Stephen Joseph is stepping aside – though remaining for a short while to help his successor take the reins. He has been a great and widely respected champion of sustainable transport and planning throughout that long period and will be missed by many in the transport world. Thanks Stephen for your unrelenting inspiration and quiet determination, and canny ability to point out the ridiculous in a way that raises a smile, and encourages all to reflect upon the absurdities and contradictions that pepper transport policy.

Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, wants cheaper fuel for those stopping at Motorway service stations (widely reported across media). How about acting on public transport fares? Come on Grayling! Do your homework! The last 10 years have seen bus fares rise 70%, rail fares by 60% and motoring costs by 25% (RAC Foundation). Please do something about that, and quickly.
Link here to RAC Foundation statistics:
Cost of motoring against costs of public transport – RAC Foundation
Do let your MP know if you feel that public transport fares are too high and join Campaign for Better Transport’s rail FAIR FARES campaign – information here:
Campaign For Better Transport: Campaigns

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SUNDAY 349 BUS TO BODIAM CASTLE – IT’S BACK! After an absence of three years, the 349 Sunday service run by Stagecoach out of Hastings has returned – and not just for summer! The route connects Hastings with Sedlescombe, Cripps … Continue reading

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This gallery contains 14 photos.

A27 CONSULTATION The consultation on Highways England proposals for improvement of the A27 between Lewes and Polegate closed on the 4th December, 2015. The document can be read here: Consultation brochure. Our response can be read here: a27-cons-11-16. Please also see the … Continue reading

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Provision of bus lanes on the A259 was one of the conditions on which Link Road funding was granted in 2012. They were first promised in 2004 to ‘complement’ the road, along with ‘new services and new stations served by more trains’ . The ‘new stations’ (Glyne Gap (Ravenside) and St Leonards – West Marina) won’t be appearing any time this decade, if ever, and the bus lanes may not be ready for use until Christmas 2016 – a year after the opening of the Link Road. (see press release: Bus Lane Presser – part published in Has/Bex Observers 3rd June 16)

It matters because a declared objective of the Link Road (Combe Valley Way) was to relieve congestion on De La Warr/Bexhill Road and – as the title  of the public consultation document (Future Travel Options) suggested – give us ‘alternative travel choices’. Ultimately, the title really meant ‘Which new road route out of 6 do you prefer  ?’ We now know that 5 of them were plain bonkers with no chance of being built.

East Sussex County Council predicted that although congestion would be relieved by the new road (as it has), traffic would begin growing back straight away – though by how much would depend on the quality of the bus and rail services on offer, and conditions being made acceptable and attractive for safe walking and cycling. Bus lanes would certainly be useful for cyclists. If this package of  alternatives could be attractive and of a high quality, the congestion reduction  benefits of the Link Road would be ‘locked in’.

The fact that the bus lanes will be delayed and the new station and rail services absent, will mean that there will be no incentives to swap the car for alternatives for short trips on the A259. Traffic will grow back faster as the ‘car habit’ is confirmed and encouraged. This is hardly sustainable or beneficial for local residents, workers, visitors or students: poor air quality is a known killer, and ‘active travel’ a recognised solution. (See guidance for local authorities – link):

Active travel: a briefing for local authorities :

The ‘value for money’ of the Link Road was assessed by government as ‘poor to medium’. If the congestion reduction function is weakened and traffic grows back faster than predicted through the absence or delayed provision of the promised bus lanes and rail station and services, the value of the very expensive Link Road (c£130m) is diminished further. Faster than predicted traffic growth is a very real prospect in any case if the current multi-million road building frenzy around Bexhill and Hastings continues. We won’t be getting ‘value for money’ or for that matter, better health.

Traffic growth means more pressure to convert front gardens to hard standing for parking, with consequent loss of biodiversity and increased risk of ‘flash floods’. There are many other side effects, a described in this BBC article:

The decline of the British front garden – BBC News

Bus Lanes Location Plan here:

Overview of proposals

The bus lanes and a new station at Glyne Gap would provide better alternatives to the car  between Barnhorn (new housing proposed), Little Common, Bexhill,  Hastings and Ore – with Ravenside retail park, Bexhill College, the beach, Combe Valley Countryside Park and the Bathing Pool site important intermediate destinations and major generators of short trips by car. See photos below:

Picture post Link Road opening: car dependency, gardens lost to hard standing, increased flood risk, more traffic.......

  1. Picture  on A259 near Harley Shute post Link Road opening: greater car dependency, gardens lost to hard standing, increased flood risk, more traffic…….bus lanes needed as soon as possible please.

Bexhill Road at Glyne Gap - a useful access point for the Combe Valley Countryside Park2. Bexhill Road at Glyne Gap – a useful access point for the Combe Valley Countryside  Park .                                                                                                                  

Bex Rd3

3. Glyne Gap station would be just a few feet away from Ravenside retail park. The train now passing…                                                                                          

Bex Rd4

4. This demonstration drew cheers from the crowd waiting for the new M&S store to open. Why no station?                                                                                            

Bex Rd2

5. While out on the Link Road, the Bexhill Enterprise Park boasts a bus stop (good) with no direct access to the brand new office block (daft).                                                              


And nothing else will do! No mention of the need to work out where the traffic will park or even where motorists need to get to and from, or, importantly, what will happen when the thousands of cars she ‘s so looking forward to, collide with the new bus services and cyclists using the long talked about and eagerly awaited ‘sustainable transport corridor’ between Hailsham – Polegate – Eastbourne. And if they’re piling into Eastbourne, where will the vehicles be left? Significant areas of town will have to be demolished to form massive new car parks. There are strong arguments in favour of converting car parks into housing land. This would reduce traffic, strengthen town centre economies, improve public health, improve air quality, help solve the housing crisis, give the next generation a fighting chance of something better……

None of this seems to matter to the MP who is apologising to her constituents* for the time spent on gathering evidence to determine the best transport future for the area. (not a word on rail investment).

Please Caroline, don’t wreck our National Park, and do your best to save us from the toxic traffic fumes which currently are leading to the premature death of at least 40,000 people a year in the UK: According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Eastbourne’s air quality is already bad enough! * ‘Eastbourne and Out magazine, April/May 2016.


Pollution forecast – Defra, UK – UK-Air


The next phase of the station/town centre – Langney cycle route has been approved: it will continue the latest Horsey Stream route from Stafford school to Lottbridge Drove and will pass behind St Anthony’s avenue to Langney Roundabout, with a spur to Tollgate school. Raising the profile of cycling in this way is essential but must be accompanied by policies that challenge the primacy of the car: any challenge to poor driver behaviour which cyclists find intimidating is often met with obscene language and irrational over-reaction. This can put off those members of the public who are wary of traffic danger but willing to ‘give it a go’. Most cycle journeys will begin on streets where there are no restraints on aggressive driver behaviour – it’s a small percentage of drivers who are to blame, but then there are so many thousands of vehicles on the roads that conflicts are commonplace. Eastbourne’s cycling campaign  group ‘Bespoke’ have published a map of ‘safer’ routes and those which are ‘less safe’. Link here: (Click on ‘MAP’)

NEWS – link to Bespoke map.


Eastbourne station car park access was, until mid 2015, from Upperton Road with the exit via Commercial Road. Then in August 2015 the Upperton Road entrance was closed and the Commercial Road exit became two way, with a rearranged carriageway. For many years the Commercial Road entrance had been an important and busy pedestrian route in and out of the station and through to the town centre. It still is. But pedestrians were suddenly relegated as their needs for safe access and egress were ignored.

CBT East Sussex undertook a count of car drivers/passengers, and pedestrians entering and leaving the station for one hour in the morning peak, and one hour mid-day. Here’s the result:

Car Park PiePedestrians outnumber car-borne entries/exits by 12:1

We pursued this with Cllr Rodohan of ESCC and he did his best to relay our concerns: slowly and bit by bit the situation was partially remedied. (See photos below):

Blind Corner: no pedestrian refuge in either direction.

1. Blind Corner: no pedestrian refuge. Concerns raised..

A pedestrian strip with obstructing vehicle and risk of reversing into children, invisible in rear view mirror. The building on the left is a childrens' 'soft play' attraction.

2. A pedestrian strip with obstructing vehicle and risk of reversing into children, invisible in rear view mirror. The building on the left is a ‘soft play’ attraction.

Road markings give clear prime status to vehicles over pedestrians. This is not a shared space.

3. Current road markings give clear prime status to vehicles over pedestrians. This is not a shared space.

Unattractive, uneven, too narrow - hazardous for the elderly and impossible for wheelchairs. This footway needs a major upgrade

4. Unattractive, uneven, too narrow – hazardous for the elderly and impossible for wheelchairs. This ‘footway’ needs a major upgrade. Current state.                                                     

Small victory for the pedestrian: a refuge was provided on the blind corner, the 'left turn arrow' relocated and a zebra and speed hump appeared.5. Small victory for the pedestrian: a refuge was provided on the blind corner, the ‘left turn arrow’ relocated and a zebra and speed hump appeared. It doesn’t look planned.                              

At the Upperton Road (town) end of the station, those exiting the station towards the library no longer have to pass between the bumpers of waiting taxis and crossing the road is a little less intimidating...

6. At the Upperton Road (town) end of the station, those exiting the station towards the library no longer have to pass between the bumpers of waiting taxis, and crossing the      road is a little less intimidating…                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

...and the apron at the front of the station is a big improvement... is the cycle storage.

8.    ….as is the cycle storage.              

9. But the signage gives no acknowledgement to the extremely likely presence of pedestrians and cyclists who make up by far the majority of user of this access route.

9. But the signage at the sole entry/exit gives no acknowledgement to the extremely likely presence of pedestrians and cyclists who make up by far the majority of users of this access route.

10. Opportunity for conflict is high. The passenger of this vehicle exhorted the driver to 'run 'em over' . Unlikely to be a serious suggestion, but typical of attitudes that place the car first in the transport hierarchy. The new, haphazard arrangements at this car park confirm that.

10. Opportunity for conflict is high. The passenger of this vehicle exhorted the driver to ‘run ’em over’ . Unlikely to be a serious suggestion, but typical of attitudes that place the car first in the transport hierarchy, even close to the town centre. The new, haphazard arrangements at this car park sadly confirm that.                                                                                                                                       

There is an added hazard of cars/taxis dropping off/picking up train passengers, occasionally travelling at unacceptably high speeds to catch/meet trains.

11. Extra traffic movements (since August, 2015) derive from cars/taxis dropping off/picking up train  passengers, occasionally travelling at unacceptably high speeds to           catch/meet trains. This particular vehicle was not being driven inappropriately.                                                                                            

We have fed photos and data at regular intervals to East Sussex County Council via Cllr Rodohan, though we have yet to send the latest observations. At no point did we receive any direct acknowledgement from ESCC. Cllr Rodohan’s efforts are appreciated but clearly, more needs to be done.


Two bits really, though connected. On Thursday 26th May there was a planning committee meeting in Bexhill Town Hall (Rother DC). I was there to support objectors to a planning application for a tourist accommodation development off Sheep Street Lane Etchingham: my objection was concerned with intrusion of such a development on the very peaceful East Rother valley, including the potential impact of traffic which did not appear to have been considered. The lane – between Ticehurst and Etchingham – already experiences fast moving vehicles, and for those walking or cycling, can be an intimidating environment. In recent years vehicles have got bigger (and smaller) but the big ones leave ruts, chew up verges, and not infrequently, don’t defer to vulnerable road users or each other. (See photo):

Don't give way,. just put your foot down!

Don’t give way, just put your foot down!

Local District Councillor Mary Barnes eulogised about the lane and its community, tranquillity and wildlife (nightingales were mentioned). There are also glow-worms (brilliant creatures!). She then voted for the development which she felt had acceptably stringent conditions attached. We’ll see. But most worryingly, she pronounced the lane too dangerous to walk down. And presumably to cycle on. Action required to remedy that?None suggested. It’s a countywide, or even nationwide problem and a product of ‘car culture’ and it needs not dumb acceptance but a robust challenge: the alternative is to lock up our children.

To get to the planning meeting, I cycled to and from Bexhill from Eastbourne, using the seafront in Eastbourne to start and then moving to Pevensey roundabout to take the ‘old marsh road’ parallel to the A259. It’s a scenic lane, but far from tranquil – with vigilance needed at all times. On the two way trip, I was ‘cut-up’ twice and observed two drivers using mobiles while on the move. Scary. Potentially a great area of marshes and ditches and wide landscapes through which to walk or cycle, but for family outings with children on bikes you could never recommend it – too risky.  The remedy, suggested at the last Rother Transport Action Group meeting (and earlier by Sustrans): make the lanes ‘access only’ and get rid of the through traffic.


These were the subject of letters I sent to three East Sussex MPs. (Hastings, Bexhill and Battle and Eastbourne – Amber Rudd, Huw Merriman and Caroline Ansell).

Put simply, we were made aware that the Department for Transport (DfT) had spent considerable sums on working with train operating companies to bring about these tickets for those seeking part time work yet currently having to buy weekly seasons or expensive daily tickets. Despite this, there had been no news on their introduction. ‘Victims’ of punitive fares also included those who had had to move out of London due to excessive rents and house prices and were relocating to cheaper accommodation, making some savings through ‘home working’,  yet trapped by the rail fares now needed to get them to work. Grossly unfair! Matters are far from resolved but we will continue to press for more user friendly ticketing and suggest that those affected do so too by writing to their MPs. This letter, received from an agent of Caroline Ansell MP (Eastbourne) and written by rail minister Claire Perry, MP, is the most positive response yet:

Part Time Seasons C Perry response

Just to ‘test the water’, a request was made at Petts Wood, Southeastern, and Eastbourne, Southern stations for a three day season ticket for specific days of the week ahead. Neither of the ticket offices could offer such a product, so nothing doing yet. Interestingly, Claire Perry’s letter mentions availability of a ‘carnet’ of day tickets offered at a discount by Chiltern Railways: that could be part of a solution for other train operators. Fragmented railways eh?

A quick note about a facility withdrawn from Southern ticket offices: on production of a Eurostar ticket, until the beginning of May 2016 you could get a discounted ticket to and from St Pancras. It’s still available but only on-line. Oh dear, the Southern website is a daunting prospect with its physically impossible maps – I’ve just tried and failed again. It is a truly awful website.


The system has at last been switched on (see previous post) and is to a considerable extent working in Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings. Hastings station installation has not yet begun however – and is currently the subject of negotiations with rail bodies, Stagecoach and ESCC.


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