Dismay that Sidley could miss carnival procession

Link Road construction work on Woodsgate Park Bridge
Link Road construction work on Woodsgate Park Bridge

The route of this year’s Bexhill Carnival procession is in doubt following safety concerns because of link road construction work.

The procession usually leaves from Turkey Road and passes through the high street on its way to Bexhill Old Town.

It then makes its way down Sea Road and round the town centre to the Polegrove.

This year its been proposed it start from Buxton Drive instead - large enough for the 60 different floats expected - and this has led to complaints that Sidley will miss out.

The proposal of the alternative route was greeted with dismay by Sidley councillor Maurice Watson who claimed “once again Sidley will be suffering because of the link road.”

He commented: “Sidley will be missed out completely this year. For years the Carnival has started in Turkey Road and wound it way through Sidley, past shops and many people lining the Streets. The New Inn is always packed with families waiting for the procession to pass by.”

The reason for the change are health and safety issues around traffic movements in Ninfield Road.

Cllr Watson said: “I have spoken to several members of the public who are very disappointed with this very short notice of the changes to the route.

However I hope this year that all the people will have enjoyable Carnival and perhaps Sidley traders and the Heart of Sidley could consider in providing something in Buxton Drive for the visitors and Sidley folk.”

A crisis meeting will be held on Wednesday June 4 which will be attended by all interested parties including representatives from Sussex Police, East Sussex County Council highways department, Rother District Council which will rubberstamp road closures on the day, the link road construction team, and the Carnival Committee.

It is expected they will focus on safety issues - including if the procession was to start in Turkey Road how the safety of floats and pedestrians could be compromised by oncoming traffic.

Jay Wootton of carnival sponsor Hastings Direct said: “Due to the link road restrictions this year, our proposed new route must accommodate these restrictions. Whilst our initial proposed change has now met with some local objections, we will work closely with all the parties concerned – police. local council and residents - to find a route that is not only safe for all participants, but offers the best compromise given the extraordinary conditions in place for this year.”

He said of the meeting: “It will be a healthy conversation going on between all the authorities. I hope it will be resolved. It either starts from Turkey Road with a rolling road closure through Sidley, or we start in Buxton Drive, and what the Carnival Committee will do is work with local traders and say what can we do to put business back in your shops, what can we do to work with you on that?”