Improved A21 can unleash economic potential and brilliance says MP

Hastings MP Sally-Ann Hart says she had a ‘brilliant meeting’ yesterday as part of the A21 Reference Group.

The group consists of MPs whose constituencies lie along the A21, representatives from local authorities and Transport for the South East. The group was instrumental in persuading the Government to carry out the most recent upgrade of the road to dual carriageway between Tonbridge and Pembury.

Mrs Hart says yesterday’s meeting agreed it is essential to see continued ‘dualling’ and investment in the A21. She says that means getting Kippings Cross sorted and includes work around Hurst Green and also the stretch from Kent Street right in to Hastings.

A21 is least developed strategic road in the South East

“As the MP for Hastings and Rye I want to see the economic potential and brilliance of all residents unleashed and by dualling the A21 to Hastings we can do that.

“With improvement in this road comes more business investment, higher skilled jobs and greater wages,” says Mrs Hart.

She says she will champion investment in the A21 and ensure that the benefits of this project are felt in Hastings and Rye!

The A21 is described by Transport for the South East as ‘the least developed Strategic Road Network road’ in the South East, a situation which it says undermines the potential for the road to support regeneration and economic development.

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

Lack of development of the A21 is undermining the potential for the road to support regeneration and economic development

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, group co-ordinator Greg Clark, the MP for Tunbridge Wells, 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.”

Tonbridge and Malling MP, Tom Tugendhat, said: “We need further works at the junction with the M25 and also to improve safety on the newly dualled stretch between Tonbridge and Pembury.

“Next week’s closure between Hildenborough and Tonbridge has the potential to cause significant disruption across the area.

“I was concerned that many other authorities had not been notified. This will show why investment in the whole route is urgently needed.”

Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle and chairman of the Transport Select Committee, said: “The safety and resilience of the A21 has been a top priority for me since being elected in 2015. I have consistently lobbied for a long-term solution to this road which I believe can only be achieved by complete dualling of the road to Hastings.

“If our local economies and communities in East Sussex are to thrive then we need to ensure that this key route to the M25, London and the rest of the country is fit for purpose.”

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