December 10th, 2022.

Lewes Lib Dems release:

Many Seaford residents have been surprised to hear that the County Council has pressed ahead with an £8 million scheme to replace the existing Exceat Bridge with an entirely new two-way bridge instead of simply making the current temporary traffic lights permanent.

The scheme received approval from the South Downs National Park’s Planning Committee and is being funded by central government.

Liberal Democrat campaigners in the town have been working alongside residents to get critical improvements to dangerous junctions across the town. Well-documented issues like the junction of Bishopstone Road and the A259 could be solved with a fraction of the funding being lavished on the Exceat Bridge.

There are also acute concerns over the loss of habitats, lack of cycling and walking provision, and possible increase in volume of traffic using the route instead of the A27.

Commenting on the news, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Seaford, James MacCleary, said: “I was in Bishopstone just this week speaking to residents about the dangers of the Bishopstone Road junction. It’s just one of a number of dangerous junctions along the A259 heading through Seaford that could be completely sorted with a fraction of the £8 million being lavished on the Exceat Bridge. There have been Zero bad accidents at Exceat Bridge, but there have been many at Bishopstone.

“Most residents I speak to would have been very happy to just see the traffic lights made permanent and the money spent on something else. The new bridge will take two years to build and lead to substantial disruption and increased heavy traffic.

“The local Conservative MP is busy slapping herself on the back over it, but I’m pretty sure that, given the option, residents could have put the money to much better use than an £8 million pet project.”

Seaford South County Councillor, Carolyn Lambert, added: “We know what the priorities are in our town and top of the list is better access to GPs and improved road safety. £8 million of public money on a pet project that achieves neither. I made the case for simply retaining the traffic lights, and building a simple replacement bridge of a similar design to the one already there, but the Conservatives were determined to build an entirely new bridge at huge cost.

"This is a hugely costly project that continues to ignore safety issues at the crossing to the meanders where visitors take their lives in their hands trying to cross the road. This is an iconic international beauty spot and it is extremely disappointing that the County Council and Maria Caulfield are content to increase the speed of traffic in this area without taking any account of the urgent need for a safe pedestrian crossing.

“This will also impact on the local businesses on the edge of the park which are equally dangerous to access by trying to cross the A259. It seems the Conservatives will prioritise road traffic to the exclusion of considerations of public safety."
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