Our Saturday independent columnist Observer wonders why planners are determined to ruin by-passes and what’s the logic of having people living miles from the town centre.
Question: When is a by-pass not a by-pass?
Answer: When it becomes little more use than a busy urban road.
Question: How do you ensure more cars crowd already choked roads?
Answer: Build houses with no amenities and away from shops
Think Uckfield and the 1,000 homes which are to be built on what once was Ridgewood Farm.
Let’s deal with the A22 first
Everyone I speak to believes that any new by-pass automatically becomes a magnet for housing.
People say to me: show me a new by-pass and green fields and then come back in ten years. You will see the town has built out to the new road.
There are examples all over England.
‘Got away with it’
I know of some places where by-passes have become no more than a distributor road in the midst of housing and a new by-pass had to be built to by-pass the old one.
Uckfield got away with it for many years but now it is happening.
The new Owlsbury roundabout (who thinks of these names?) will become the main road into the Ridgewood Farm estate.
Roundabouts slow traffic and cause queues . . . the evidence is there to see all over the country.
Off-set roundabouts like the one at Fernley Park and the one planned for the A22 will slow traffic even more.
Now to the housing
Thank you to a correspondent who sent me a link to a BBC article headed: Young couples ‘trapped in car dependency’.
Here’s a line from the article
‘You spend hours in traffic ferrying yourself and your children around because your estate has no shops; no pub; no doctor; no school; no jobs.’
The article is based on research by Transport for New Homes.
There is talk of the new estate at Ridgewood Farm having employment space and a school.
Cycle routes and paths into town are planned but I cannot help feeling that the development is largely “built around the car with residents driving for almost every journey”, taking phrase from the BBC report.
How can we cope?
Many of you reading this must be despairing, as I am, as to how little old Uckfield can cope with all the traffic coming our way.
Even the by-pass will be no better than a car park at times.
It’s bad now. Prediction with virtually 100 per cent certainty: gridlock here we come.
The decisions that have been made in the last five years are dreadful and condemn us to car-mageddon.
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