I felt I had to write in support of those opposing the Bexhill Road bus lanes.
From the start in 2008 the claim that the introduction of bus lanes was part of the planning conditions of the Link Road has been a false claim – the actual wording of the paragraph is ‘to secure related improvements in bus services particularly along the A259’. It does not specifically state that the only way to do this is to introduce bus lanes as there are many other ways of improving bus services including raised kerbs, repairing and improving bus shelters and introducing real time electronic passenger boards as many other areas around the county have done.
Indeed the proposal of these bus lanes only subsequently took place in 2009 and approved in 2013 a year before the consultation took place in 2014 – a consultation which showed the overwhelming majority of respondents were against it as confirmed by the figures shown below:
Of the responses from 125 residents and 17 visitors, 88 per cent opposed the introduction of bus lanes from Bexleigh Avenue to Glyne Gap, 81 per cent opposed the introduction of bus lanes from Bulverhythe Road to Freshfields, 82 per cent opposed bus lanes form Bulverhythe Road to Harley Shute Road, 85 per cent opposed bus lanes approaching Harley Shute Road, and 80 per cent opposed them approaching Filsham Road with cost, loss of parking and increasing congestion as the main reasons.
Though when asked about bus stop improvements, 93 per cent were in favour.
So after ignoring comments from the original consultation, phase one from Glyne Gap service station to Harley Shute Road was designed and sent out for consultation again, though in reality this appears to be sadly no more than a statutory action that had to be done.
It came as no surprise that stagecoach were in favour of this, though what was more important in my opinion was the overwhelming opposition from residents along Bexhill Road and surrounding roads.
The objections to these bus lanes remain the same now as they were when the original consultation took place in 2014.
The loss of parking along parts of Bexhill Road will only displace it to other surrounding roads already heavily parked upon. Indeed at the original consultation, half the parking spaces lost – those at Glyne Gap – weren’t even reflected in the figures shown in the consultation.
The cost of introducing these lanes is also a major concern to residents who can see there are many other ways of using this money to improve bus services along the A259 and connecting roads.
The main reason though is that with the opening of the Link Road, the amount of traffic has reduced along Bexhill Road – the most recent report stating a reduction of 27 per cent though residents who live along the road have said it is nearer 40 per cent.
The argument used for the implementation of the bus lanes is ‘to encourage people to use the buses which will reduce journey times on existing bus services as well as improving reliability at existing congestion hotspots’.
However as a regular user of Bexhill Road these congestion hotspots are no longer there because of the reduction in traffic flow along Bexhill Road, and the introduction of these lanes would only increase congestion at particular points including the junctions of Harley Shute Road and Filsham Road with Bexhill Road – both of which have had massive tailbacks in the past when one lane was out of use.
I am very much in favour of the improvements to bus stop clear way markings, raised kerbs to allow easier access to buses and new bus shelters with real time passenger information displays and fully agree these will improve the experience for bus passengers, but the introduction of bus lanes will not.
In conclusion, improvements to bus services along the A259 was the original condition of the planning application not the introduction of bus lanes.
It will result in the loss of parking for residents, it will increase congestion at junctions along parts of Bexhill Road and not reduce it and they are seen by a majority of people as a waste of money that could be better spent elsewhere on other bus improvements.
Cllr Matthew Beaver
St Saviours Road, St Leonards