Hundreds object to A21 crossing plans

Tom Hoad (left) and Will Hoad (right) standing by one of the protest signs SUS-181005-155817001
Tom Hoad (left) and Will Hoad (right) standing by one of the protest signs SUS-181005-155817001

Hundreds of people have objected to proposals to put a level crossing on the A21.

Rother Valley Railway (RVR) wants to restore the missing rail link between Bodiam and Robertsbridge, which would include placing the crossing in the latter.

But objectors said the crossing would cut off ‘the main transport artery into Hastings’.

Emma Watkins said: “As a business owner and employer, I rely heavily on the A21 to access Hastings and Bexhill. The idea of putting a level crossing on the A21 seems to directly conflict with all the work that is being done to improve employment and attracting businesses to this area, with the recent construction of the Bexhill to Hastings link road and the Tonbridge bypass. Why would it be a good idea to put a barrier across the main transport artery into Hastings?

“During the May Day bike run a survey was done on 800 bikers. They were appalled about the idea that on the day of the largest free bike festival in the UK, the A21 would be shut 16 times and as such, have signed more than 600 letters objecting to the application for the Transport and Works Act Order.”

A RVR spokesman said: “The claims of delays on the A21 are grossly exaggerated. The railway will only operate outside of rush-hour times and only during the summer months.

“The barriers will only be down under two minutes at a time. As a comparison there is a pedestrian crossing just to the north of the proposed railway crossing which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. During school days it is used heavily and that does not seem to be a problem. It is expected five round trips will run on operating days. So that is 10 crossings on the A21.

“It is claimed that the A21 is one of the most dangerous roads in East Sussex. The section that we will be building the crossing on is not one of those dangerous sections. If you make a road long enough it will inevitably include dangerous sections and the statistics relatively will be higher for long roads as more is included.

“Our studies show that the heritage level crossing will not at all be dangerous or cause delays more than known bottlenecks at Flimwell or other points.”

To comment on the plan, email transportandworksact@dft.gsi.gov.uk before May 31 or write to Secretary of State for Transport, c/o Transport & Works Act Orders Unit, Department for Transport, Zone 1/18, Great Minster House, 33, Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR.