Vital road improvements given green light

Vital improvements to the A21 have been given top priority by government officials meaning Hastings notoriously poor transport links could be about to get better.

Plans to improve sections of the A road, which is the main route from Hastings to London, were set to be reconsidered after likely costs soared to more than 90million.

This would have meant work on the section of road between Tonbridge and Pembury would not have started until 2012 at the earliest.

However, the sectary of state for transport announced this week that the work, considered vital to improving transport links to Hastings, will be given top priority and could start as early as 2011.

It could even be sooner because the current prediction takes into account the possibility of a public inquiry and protests from anti-road campaigners.

The work will compliment the Hastings to Bexhill link road which is scheduled to be built next year and is part of wider plans to improve the road links to 1066 Country.

As well as the link road there is also planned improvements to other sections of the A21 including the much publicised Baldslow Link. It is hoped all the work will be completed by 2014 and will mean journey times to Hastings are cut dramatically.

This week's news was welcomed by a host of local politicians.

Peter Pragnell, the leader of Hastings Borough Council, said: "This is fantastic news. The traffic congestion along the A21 at this pinch point is notorious and really put people off using it to travel to Hastings.

"Better transport links mean more people will find it easier to get to Hastings and more people will want to come back. It's good news for our tourism industry and for anyone who uses this stretch of road regularly."

Hastings and Rye MP Michael Foster, who was part of the team which lobbied for the A21 plans to be fast-tracked, was equally pleased.

He said: "Everyone recognises that transport links are important. We have improved the rail links and recent years however much still depends on road transport which is why these improvements are absolutely vital."