Observer should be attacking MP and Central Government, says Uckfield firefighter

Uckfield Fire Station watch manager Ian Ritchie defends the Safer Wealden Partnership which was criticised by our independent columnist Observer at the weekend. Mr Ritchie says:ian-ritchie

If, as Observer suggests, the partnership were ‘to pack its bags and go home’, then there would be nobody left to even try to reduce deaths and injuries in Wealden.

You will note that many of those involved in the project are the very people who have to deal with the aftermath and the only tool they have to try to address the cause is education.

Money doesn’t exist

Speed limits can be reduced and minor traffic calming measures can be implemented, however, the money for major road improvements just doesn’t exist.

Yes Wealden’s roads are totally unsuitable for the volume of traffic trying to funnel through them but they are what they are and until any worthwhile improvements are forthcoming the responsibility to negotiate them safely and drive according to the conditions presented rests with ‘YOU’ the driver.


Unfortunately there will always be an inconsiderate, hard to reach minority who believe that the rules of the road are for others and not for them.

Improvements in public transport will not remove these drivers from our roads but may instead just free up some capacity for them to drive even faster and more recklessly.

The Uckfield-Lewes line will not reopen in my lifetime and poor bus services are no excuse for poor driving.


Please don’t attack those trying to educate drivers in an attempt to reduce the carnage on Wealden’s roads, take your wrath instead to MP Nus Ghani and central government who have reduced public sector budgets to the extent whereby no tangible, engineered resolutions are possible and the emergency services are taking longer to get to incidents with reduced resources to deal with them.

Observer criticised the lack of proper road safety measures in Wealden here: Time for proper investment in road safety. Read too about the Safer Wealden Partnership’s renewed efforts to reduce the number of people killed on Wealden roads. Observer’s latest comments, which sparked Mr Ritchie’s email are included in this column here.

Observer’s comments are utter rubbish, says Ridgewood resident

Ridgewood resident Graham, who emailed in response to Observer’s article about the lack of proper road safety measures, said:

I must write in response to the utter rubbish writter by the Observer regarding investment in road safety.

I am not sure why your Observer considers him or herself an expert on all matters. Speed is not the primary cause of accidents. Human error and bad driving is.

Five hours to do 100 miles

If the Observer had his or her way we would all drive around at 20mph and yes, less people would be injured on our roads but we don’t all have the time to take five hours to do 100 miles.

The reason speed limits are largely ignored by motorists is that many are unrealistic. Locally, why is there a 30mph speed limit at Halland on an A road where there is no school or major hazards?

Why is there a 40mph limit across most areas of the Ashdown Forest when the A22 is 60mph? Don’t mention the deer.

The speed limit should be raised to 50mph which, I suggest, most drivers would then adhere to. The only exception should be the unfenced road between Nutley and the A26.


As for Brighton, what a disaster. Bus lanes and 20mph speed limits everywhere causing traffic chaos. They have certainly made Brighton a no go area for cars and ruined many retail businesses in the process.

The Observer says don’t start him off on the Maresfield and East Hoathly by-passes. He better not start me off on the Uckfield to Lewes rail link. What a white elephant that would be as a return for the enormous cost if it was re-opened. Stop wasting money on feasibility studies and just open the route as a cycle and walking country path.

The only subject that I can agree with is the lack of dual carriageway in East Sussex. We only have the ‘greens’ and anti-motor car groups to blame.


What a disaster around Worthing on the A27 and between Lewes and Eastbourne.

Every time proposals are made to dual sections of the A27 the objectors win. Look how long it took to build the Hastings by-pass. We need to change our planning system for infrastructure projects.

I think it is a great shame that Uckfield News use their excellent website to promote the opinions of one individual.

See also:

Glorious day for rugby extravaganza in Uckfield

Coats, shoes and half a ton of metal pulled from River Uck, Uckfield

Joli Couture owner overturns closure plans

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