Glenda Jackson MP,
House of Commons,
Objection’s to a petition in support of a new section of trunk road the A21 dual carriageway at Castle Hill
Dear Glenda Jackson,
We heard you speak at a meeting in Uckfield in support of reopening the Uckfield-Tunbridge Well rail line. In objecting to the above road scheme we support this rail scheme along with rail sidings at North Farm Industrial Estate, and the reopening of the Sommerhill rail line connecting Tunbridge Wells to the Tonbridge/Paddock Wood/Ashford International Station rail line. Thereby creating new links for new services on rail outside London even during peak times. We find it a little surprising that after the consultation on roads and an integrated transport policy apparently private lobbying is continuing. Is the consultation still open? We presume it is. You will be presented with a petition stimulated by our local MP Archie Norman, probably with many thousand signatures. This campaign has been conducted by the local paper, the Kent and Sussex Courier, hyped up by figures which are dubious, and we now know apply to a section 5 times in length. The public would not be able to analyze this fact. The figures appear to reflect the Vauxhall Lane to Longfield Road 2.4 mile section of A21, (Castle Hill), but actually show we think the situation over the A21 between Castle Hill and Lamberhurst. But this distance was left to guess-work under the phrase “relevant section”. The true figures for personal injury crashes as collated by the Police Authority for the 2.4 mile section at Castle Hill, we enclose. No way are they the figures quoted and requoted from Hansard when MP Archie Norman challenged you in Parliament in February. With the public signing a petition based, at best, on ambiguous information, what value can be placed on these opinions, hyped up by sensationalism. They are being told many fatalities have occurred in five years, when the fact is, only one until a another occurred outside these figures, just days ago. Can you analyze what section of road his figure of 227 serious accidents in five years relates to, also his “many fatalities”? We responded to the roads and integrated transport consultation last autumn. We used this approved section of trunk road to illustrate loss of Ancient Woodland, habitat of Great Crested Newts, Nightingales, visual intrusion on North Tunbridge Wells and extra traffic through residential areas quoting policies in Borough Local Plan and County Strategic Plan to support our argument. We included a detailed criticism of the DoT’s computer model COBA used to justify this section of trunk road. The inspector at the Public Inquiry in 1993 took great interest in this criticism of COBA and asked the DoT to listen to the objector who presented the criticism. The inspector at Public Inquiry in 1993 in to this new section of six lane trunk road noted the lack of public interest in the issue. The local paper reflected criticism of the then published route without hype. Why did not they take their current attitude then? Has their Management changed to include friends of Archie Norman?