January 23rd, 2023.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary campaigner for Lewes constituency, James MacCleary, (pictured), has called on National Highways to invest in urgent improvements to the A26 between Newhaven and Beddingham. The road was closed for three days last week due to safety concerns over flooding and ice.

The closure has caused major traffic disruption on surrounding roads and impacted on local towns and villages. Many large lorries have rerouted up unsuitable local roads such as the C7 finding themselves stuck and damaging other vehicles.

James MacCleary says: "It would be more understandable if we were talking about a small side road here, but this is a major route that carries a high volume of heavy traffic. Newhaven is a port and the A26 is supposed to take the heavy vehicles that come off the ferry as well as trucks and lorries going to and from the industrial estates. Closing it for three days (and counting) has major knock on effects for local people.

"It's not just the congestion that it has caused - which is huge - but also large vehicles travelling on unsuitable roads and travelling through villages like Kingston and Alfriston to reach the A27. These roads cannot handle that sort of traffic and there are reports of lorries getting stuck and damaging other vehicles squeezing down narrow roads.

"I want to know how National Highways intend to ensure this doesn't just keep happening every year. Our weather is becoming more extreme as a result of climate change, so we are likely to see these sorts of very cold periods more often.

"There needs to be a plan to deal with the surface water that flows across the road whenever it rains heavily. During the winter there is a permanent stream running across the road at Beddingham for instance. I have written to National Highways to find out what they plan to do to improve drainage and water management on the road and request a meeting."
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