‘Action is needed over the A21 danger road’ - Coroner

Accident scene on the A21 near Hurst Green
Accident scene on the A21 near Hurst Green

The A21 has been criticised by East Sussex coroner Alan Craze.

The road, which is heavily used by motorists from 1066 Country, has been named as one of the most dangerous in Britain due to its high percentage of fatal and serious accidents.

Mr Craze spoke at the recent inquest of Dartford biker Mike Kemp, who died on August 27 last year near Whatlington when his 900cc Yamaha bike rounded a corner and collided with stationary traffic.

He was riding in convoy with his friend Alan Ellis, a former London Fire Brigade officer, to Hastings, where Mr Kemp had visited on family holidays.

Mr Craze said: “It (the A21) is like a narrow B-road with bends.

“We have a road that probably started out as a cart track and has now become a very busy main road.

“It is dangerous without any shadow of a doubt but I am not sure how we can sort this out.”

It is not the first time Mr Craze has commented on the A21. He spoke about the dangers in 2013 at the inquest of St Leonards man Mustafa Cicek, 36, who died when his Ford Fiesta failed to negotiate a sharp bend on the road at Whatlington.

The inquest heard from Deborah and Aldo Esposito who live on the bend and for more than a decade have called for improved safety measures following a series of serious crashes.

In 1999, an Austin Metro left the road, ploughed through a fence and landed in the couple’s garden – coming to a rest near the nursery which had been decorated in preparation for their unborn child.

Mr Craze said: “If whatever criteria this road is graded on, if someone takes the view it’s dangerous, one option would be to straighten it out with compulsory acquisition.”

He said he would write to the secretary of state for transport to ask him to look into what action can be taken to prevent further fatalities on that stretch of the A21.

An interactive electronic warning sign was installed at Whatlington in 2004, but the Highways Agency stopped short of installing a crash barrier claiming there was insufficient room. Overgrown vegetation on the road also causes a hazard by obscuring the view. Earlier this month, work begun in earnest on a £70 million project to dual a section of the A21. The Highways Agency says the scheme, between Tonbridge and Pembury, should reduce delays and accidents. Currently there is a narrow stretch of single carriageway between the two sections of dual carriageway at Pembury and Southborough which can result in congestion and long delays. Work is expected to be completed by December, 2016.