Hundreds of daytrippers spent up to three-and-a-half hours stuck in Rock-a-Nore car park yesterday (Sunday, April 9).
As soon as drivers tried to exit the Old Town car park, the traffic lights turned red, causing long tailbacks, according to one visitor.
Michael Lunn, a Wealden district councillor, was visiting Hastings with his family and was one of scores of daytrippers to be caught in the tailbacks.
He said: “It was chaos and a complete system failure. It was appalling with no one seemingly taking responsibility for the situation. I heard many families and children in distress, families arguing, and car drivers arguing. Tensions were extremely high as everyone just wanted to get home after a lovely day out in Hastings.”
He said he had to wait two-and-a-half hours before he could leave the car park and it was stationary traffic from there all along Rock-a-Nore Road. Cllr Lunn said a highways steward said the tailbacks were caused by the timing of the lights, which were giving preference to main road traffic along the A259, resulting in the backlog of cars trying to exit Rock-a-Nore Road.
Sussex Police sent a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) to review the situation and it was passed onto the county council’s highways department, Cllr Lunn added.
An East Sussex Highways spokesman said: “We did receive one report from a member of the public concerned about the length of time it was taking to get out of Rock-a-Nore Road onto the A259 at the weekend.
“The traffic in and around Hastings Old Town was exceptionally heavy as a result of people wanting to make use of the fine weather, and as a result journey times in the area were longer than normal.
“The traffic lights at this junction are programmed to give priority to vehicles travelling on the A259 as it is by far the busier road, however we have asked our street lighting contractors to look at the traffic lights to make sure this isn’t an ongoing issue and that the timings of the lights are correct.”
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