Sidley suffering link road work

Sidley spoke out about the impact of link road construction work at a public meeting on Friday.

The event was opened by town mayor Cllr Frances Winterborn and chaired by Bexhill MP Greg Barker, with East Sussex County Councillor Michael Ensor present to answer questions, as well as Rother District Councillors Maurice Watson and Jimmy Carroll.

The meeting was organised by Heart of Sidley in response to local concerns about traffic delays, safety, and loss of business being caused by ongoing work at Woodsgate Park bridge, Ninfield Road bridge, with installation of facilities, and hold-ups to traffic because of temporary lights, and closures such as Wrestwood Road.

A Heart of Sidley spokesman said: “People were given opportunity to ask questions and air grievances, with the councillors taking away questions to follow up. It was quite positive overall. Sidley traders spoke about lack of business and other people were highlighting delays and problems caused by construction traffic too - one man was saying he was woken at 4am by massive lorries making deliveries.”

Also highlighted were difficulties for pedestrians on Sidley high street as well as outside King Offa primary academy on Little Common Road and the junction with the A259, with a plea made for a patrolled crossing.

Cllr Paul Lendon also attended the meeting and felt the “magnitude” of the work was “making people’s lives hell.” He questioned why work on Woodsgate Park bridge had not been completed by the date given.

He said: “Residents are so affected. It is really affecting the livelihood of people in that area, and I think there are lessons to be learned by the way it has been project managed.”

Cllr Maurice Watson commented afterwards: “The main issues were loss of business and traffic. It’s as simple as that.”

He felt that Bexhill was also affected by the ongoing construction process but that Sidley was bearing the brunt and added: “Sidley has suffered enough.”

He highlighted recent headaches for the community such as collapse of a sewage main earlier this year as well as loss of road crossing at Lidl which made life difficult for those on foot, but felt that short-term pain had to be endured for long-term gain.

Greg Barker told the Observer this had been “a very positive meeting” and said: “I know that Sidely residents are having to put up with a great deal of disruption and huge inconvenience during this phase of the building of the link road. When it’s finished it will be worthwhile bringing new homes and jobs to north Bexhill but we have tomake sure that local traders, residents and school chidren are helped through these difficult few months.”

He said that it was decided better information and communication was necessary, with residents and traders wanting to know when there would be road closures and major disruption, and that ESCC was being asked to provide daily updates on its website.

He added: “There was a series of practical steps to take - one of which was adjusting where the traffic lights are, and another looking at additional help for children crossing the road coming to and from school.”

The Heart of Sidley thanks Sidley Baptist Church for use of its hall.