A planned new roundabout on the A22 Uckfield by-pass will be “off-set” in a similar way to the one at the entrance to Fernley Park in Eastbourne Road.
The roundabout will provide the main entrance/exit to the 1,000 homes development at Ridgewood Farm, although about 250 properties will be accessed via Lewes Road.
The siting and positioning of the roundabout was shown to Uckfield town councillors on Monday (October 22) at a full meeting of the council.
It appears not to be in the centre of the existing A22 but partially pushed into the new housing development.
There was dismay from some over what they considered to be a repeat of the “mistake” made when the new junction was created to the new estate at Fernley Park.
Cllr Helen Firth said: “Once again, I think this is a joke from East Sussex County Council.
“That is identical to the noxious roundabout they put on the Eastbourne Road, which no lorry could go round.”
She said the suggested roundabout would slow traffic and cause more traffic to travel through the High Street.
“Send this back and tell them ‘no way’, unless they can do it properly,” she said.
Cllr Paul Meakin said he thought the idea of an off-set design was to slow traffic to allow movement in and out. He pointed out the plan came from landowner, Welbeck, not county highways.
“I think we should go back to them and ask them to think again,” he said.
“Why is it off-set?”
Cllr Paul Sparks pointed out the planned access to the employment area and sewage farm, nearer the Bell Farm Road roundabout could only be accessed by southbound traffic (left turn in) and exited by by a left turn only.
“Vehicles that wanted to go right would have to come down to this proposed new roundabout and drive right the way round it and back again.
“It doesn’t look to me a very easy roundabout to do a complete U turn with a huge lorry.
“I think that is a real concern and I would hope that whoever has come up with these plans has taken that into account,” he said.
Cllr Chris Macve asked what would happen to the A22 traffic while the roundabout was being built.
“It is going to come into the town and it will just cause gridlock.”
Cllr Diane Ward asked why the detail of the roundabout was not sorted out before planning permission for the houses was given.
She said a slip road on and slip road off would be better than “this debacle”.
“It seems as if they were trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted and unfortunately that stable door wouldn’t keep anything in,” she added.
Cllr Ian Smith said the roundabout was in the original planning application and “now they are just trying to see that through”.
“I don’t think they have sprung this on us,” he added.
He also asked that a 20mph speed limit be imposed on roads on the new estate.
“We have said all along that we want 20mph on our estates and we must keep hammering at the door,” he added.
Cllr Louise Eastwood asked that East Sussex be mindful about what happened at the Fernley Park roundabout and the costs involved when it had to be altered.
“I would not want this to happen with this one,” she said.
Cllr Donna French said the council should have faith in the designers because they had all the software to design the roundabouts.
“With the experience of what happened up the road, we know things can go wrong,” she said.
East Sussex county councillor for Ridgewood, Cllr Chris Dowling, who was present at the meeting, was asked to comment.
He said he was well aware of the problems at the Fernley Park roundabout caused by its off-set.
“I was heavily involved when it was sorted out.
“The reason it is off-set is because of land issues.
“The land on the right hand side (as you go south out of town) did not have the same owner as the Fernley Park estate.
He said remedial work was done but said people going out of town “whizzed across the top of the roundabout”.
“They changed the splitter island, they put a collar round it but the big issue there was land ownership.
“It has been built into the estate rather than taking part of another piece of land,” Cllr Dowling said.
He added that he had seen and heard about the work of road planners and said designs were thought through carefully and built in the context of vehicles flows and, size of vehicles.
“That does not mean that it cannot be questioned or scrutinised. It’s not just a a matter of it will be OK, won’t it.
“There is a science, a logic and professionalism behind it,” he said.
The town clerk, Holly Goring, will pass on the council’s comments.
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