Untidy roundabout is now fitting gateway to Bexhill

Little Common Roundabout 8/4/14 SUS-140804-120753001
Little Common Roundabout 8/4/14 SUS-140804-120753001

It’s what drivers and visitors first see when arriving in Bexhill - Little Common roundabout.

The landmark had been subject to much criticism thanks to its unkempt appearance but is undergoing a makeover following local pressure and a deal struck by Rother District Council.

The Observer in autumn highlighted concern by residents but particularly members of Little Common Royal British Legion who complained the roundabout was not fit to be backdrop to their parade and wreath-laying at the War Memorial.

A small group of them even took it on themselves to tidy up - they were Ernie and Penny Eldridge, Simon Briggs, and Bob Moore.

Ernie, 80, paid for new bulbs and plants out of his own pocket and the group worked on digging these in and then watering them during baking hot days in preparation for their important ceremony in November.

Concerns that Little Common roundabout was being neglected prompted RDC to strike a deal with the Highways Agency, the authority responsible for the A259 and the roundabout.

A five-year agreement means RDC will maintain the landscaping and can secure sponsorship to enable them to do this at little or no cost to the taxpayer.

“This is great news for the Bexhill community,” said Cllr Bob White, portfolio holder for Culture, Tourism and Leisure.

“Like residents, we were growing increasingly concerned with the state of the roundabout – an important gateway to Bexhill.

“The agreement reached with the Highways Agency means we can take back some control and ensure the area remains colourful, neat and tidy. And being able to get sponsorship for maintenance takes the financial burden off the taxpayer.”

James Kimber, owner of The Cooden Beach Hotel, was quick to sign up to a sponsorship deal with the council which meant officers could get to work straight away.

James said: “I am very pleased to come to the rescue of the roundabout.

It is the gateway to our much loved town and presents our War Memorial. We can once again welcome people to our town with pride.”

In the past the district council has carried out maintenance on an unofficial basis and at a cost to the council, but were unable to continue this due to financial pressures.

Just days after the agreement was signed representatives of The Landscape Group, Rother District Council contractors, were out on the roundabout replanting and tidying the area.

Penny Eldridge commented: “We are delighted with what they are doing. It is so lovely that it is being taken care of. Everyone is thrilled - it looks so neat and tidy now.”

RDC is now responsible for maintaining the roundabout but not the war memorial itself, the future of which is to be discussed at a meeting on Wednesday April 16.