Lord Whitty, XX xxxxx xxx
House of Commons, Tunbridge Wells,
London. Kent, TN4 XXX
Tel: 01892 XXXXX
01892 XXXXXX (work)
27 February, 2001
Access to Hastings – A21 at Castle Hill
I urge you not to proceed with road building or widening, and consider rail infrastructure development instead. I am particularly objecting to the section of A21 Tonbridge to Pembury (Castle Hill). The development identified at north Tunbridge Wells seems unnecessary, and the predicted 5 minute journey time saving for road users between Hastings and Gatwick seems trivial. This is compared to worsening of the already poor air quality in Longfield Road and the good safety record of this section of road could be compromised. The road offers no long term local benefits.
My MP Archie Norman has been pushing for a new section of road, the A21 at Castle Hill, be built. This most studied road has again been studied in the Access to Hastings Multi-modal Study called the A21 study locally. My MP was a director of rail track says he met you and pressed for this road be built at Castle Hill. It appears that rail track have been excused the need to investment locally, by the study.
The Access to Hastings Multi-modal Study. Has reported:-
The disadvantages include; Extra traffic attracted to Tunbridge Wells particularly through the residential area of Sherwood, via Longfield Road (industrial estate).
Rail that is a feature of access to Tunbridge Wells, is not developed. For example rail freight sidings, shuttle trains and the restoration of the rail line to Lewes.
More Serious injuries due to crashes – though the study’s original objective was to improve that aspect. The study makes a particular point about the good safety record on this stretch of road.
Damage to the Natural Environment;
The road and the area nearby is designated: High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Metropolitan Green Belt, Kent Special Landscape Area, Special Nature Conservancy Interest, and Tuddley Wood RSPB nature reserve. There is also Hill Fort (scheduled ancient monument).
Road building or widening is linked to development of North Tunbridge Wells this is in the AONB. The 4 lane carriageway on-line at Castle Hill proposed by the study seems to be less bad than the off-line scheme.
In conclusion the outcome of the report could have been better for Tunbridge Wells, particularly as the project manger for the consultants Steer Davis Gleave made requests to include the restoration of the rail line Tunbridge Wells to Lewes. I understand that recommendations for Hastings from South East England Regional Assembly discount much of the work carried out by the consultants.
Labour Southborough Town Councillor