Thursday, 7 November 2019

Back to the 90s

Is there an election on ?

On the 13th March 2017, Maria Caulfield signed a letter to the Department for Transport, asking for £3m to investigate the building of a new road. "We believe that there is a compelling case for an offline dual carriageway between Lewes and Polegate, which will deliver substantial transport improvements and vast economic and environmental benefits to both the local and national economies".

Today a letter to my address. "I have always said I would only support a plan to dual the existing road, which would see the improvements we need but mitigate the environmental impact. We are expecting to hear the announcement about road funding at the end of the year and I wanted to reassure you that my position has still not changed.

"There is considerable political pressure from the Libdems in Eastbourne for a new superhighway which would cut through the heart of our countryside and I will not support this and would oppose it.

"If funding was agreed, work would start on the route options which would include the previous plans to dual the A27 from the 90s which had widespread support".

My reading ?  The three offline options are still in play.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Word games

The 130-page Government document published today, which includes the full Queen's Speech, uses the word 'roads' (in the sense of road-building) just once. The new code word from the Conservatives is 'infrastructure', which appears 46 times.

It says one bit of HS2 Phase 2 will definitely go ahead, from Lichfield to Crewe. This will cut the fastest (and most expensive) service from London to Crewe from 90 minutes to 55 minutes.

Crewe has a population of just over 70,000. The railway is the biggest employer; the town is also home to the HQ of Bargain Booze and a manufacturer of ice-cream vans.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Working together.....

Transport for the South East are launching their first draft strategy, with Rupert Clubb at the podium. Note the sponsors of the event.

WSP, transport consultants, have taken the largest slice of the £3m set aside by former Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, to make the case for a new off-line dual carriageway between Lewes and Polegate.

Bosch are the biggest makers of car parts in the world.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is the largest hire car company in the world, judged by fleet (2 million vehicles) and revenue.

Friday, 4 October 2019

On or off ?

At the end of June, we reported the written words of Maria Caulfield, MP for Lewes, on the A27 between Lewes and Polegate "I have made clear that I would like to see any funding to dual the existing road and improve access for all road users and not for a new road as some in Eastbourne would like".

Though Maria is currently PPS to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, it's still not confirmed that a formal bid has been made to the Department for Transport to fund such a scheme.

In a masterfully-opaque response to a Freedom of Information enquiry, Mahmood Azam of Highways England says their strategic outline business case was present to the Government at the end of January.

"While the study considered off-line improvements which included small sections of online widening, it did not produce cost estimates or benefit cost ratios for an intervention to dual the existing A27 between Lewes and Polegate, or for an intervention which involved only online improvements to the existing A27 on its current route. "

Saturday, 21 September 2019


A couple of hopeful paragraphs from Julian Glover's review of UK landscapes for the Government.

"Our central proposal is to bring National Parks and AONBs together as part of one family of national landscapes, served by a shared National Landscapes Service (NLS) which will give them a bigger voice, bigger ambition and a new way of working to meet new challenges.

We also think what are now AONBs should be strengthened, with increased funding, governance
reform, new shared purposes with National Parks, and a greater voice on development. We think the current cumbersome title ‘AONB’ should be replaced. Our suggestion is that they should be called National Landscapes.

We would also like to see the encouragement of a wider range of non‑designated systems of landscape protection, which should be members of the national landscapes family and served by the NLS."

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Up to speed

I wanted to check that the Department for Transport knew that Maria Caulfield MP had changed her mind about the A27, and now wants funds to be spent on improving the existing road between Lewes and Polegate. I wrote before Ms Caulfield got a job at the Department, but it's good to know that the civil servants analysing new projects know what she thinks....

Dear Mr Rogers

A27 East of Lewes

Thank you for your email of 8 August asking if the Department is aware of the views expressed by Maria Caulfield MP regarding potential offline and on route options for enhancement of the A27 between Lewes and Polegate. 

I am happy to confirm that we are aware of the MP’s comments on this topic as reported in the local press.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Read-Leah
Road Investment Strategy Futures Division

Monday, 5 August 2019

Maria from the Ministry

Another from the You-Couldn't-Make-It-Up Department of Politics.