Members of the A21 Reference Group met in Parliament today to step up their campaign to see the road dualled all the way to the South coast.
The group, which consists of MPs whose constituencies lie along the A21, representatives from local authorities and Transport for the South East, played a key role in persuading the Government to undertake the most recent dualling of the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury.
With the new Government committed to improving infrastructure, and to ‘level up’ communities where income is low, the group is determined to ensure that better access to Hastings is secured alongside upgrades in the North and Midlands.
The A21 is described by Transport for the South East as “the least developed Strategic Road Network road” in the South East area, a situation which: “undermines the potential for this corridor to support regeneration and economic development in left behind towns such as those in the Hastings area.”
Priorities for upgrading are the stretches of A21 between Kippings Cross and Lamberhurst, a bypass for Hurst Green – the last major village bisected by the A21 – and better access to Hastings near the Conquest Hospital and Baldslow.
The group is also pushing for £20 million in funding for short-term improvements along the length of the road, and for safety improvements at the new section at Castle Hill.
Speaking after the meeting Greg said: “The A21 Reference Group allows MPs and local authorities to co-ordinate our efforts to deliver the goal of seeing the A21 dualled all the way to the coast.
“The majority of the road south of Tunbridge Wells is single carriageway and is nowhere near the standard needed for main link between London and Hastings. It is unsafe, congested, blights the lives of those who live by it and holds back the economic potential of towns like Hastings. The aim of the Reference Group is to bring the A21 into the 21st century.”
Back row: Cllr Keith Glazier – Council Leader at East Sussex County Council and chair of Transport for the South East; David Candlin – Head of Economic Development at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council; Cllr Andy Batsford – Cabinet member for Housing, Leisure and Community Engagement at Hastings Borough Council; Cllr Paul Osborne of Rother District Council; Huw Merriman MP for Battle and Bexhill.
Second row: Jon Wheeler – Team Manager for Strategic Economic Infrastructure at East Sussex County Council; Cllr Kathryn Field – Environment and Transport at Rother District Council; Cllr Catherine Rankin – Deputy Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation at Kent County Council.
Front row: Cllr Nicolas Heslop – Council Leader for Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council; Sally-Ann Hart MP for Hastings and Rye; Greg Clark MP for Tunbridge Wells; Tom Tugendhat MP for Tonbridge and Malling