A report on the special meeting of Icklesham Parish Council held on 1st March 2021 to discuss traffic calming in Winchelsea

Over 60 residents attended the online special meeting of Icklesham Parish Council on 1st March to comment and hear councillors discuss the next stages of the project to reduce speeding of vehicles which rat-run through the streets of Winchelsea.

After an earlier decision to postpone progress with the scheme, for at least a year, we were pleased to hear councillors, led by Vice Chairman David Smedley and with the Chairmanship of Peter Turner, confirm the council’s intention to begin the design phase during the coming financial year (2021-22) – although some aspects of this require some further consideration.

As a result, we can anticipate that consultants conducting the design exercise will begin work in the summer and Winchelsea residents will be consulted on this as it progresses towards a report.

If this goes well, residents throughout the parish will then be consulted at a further stage, before the planned scheme is implemented, on the financing and how this will lead to any costs falling to local council tax.

Some councillors representing wards outside Winchelsea raised concerns at this stage about the cost of the initial design exercise, which will add about £1.60 per year to the parish precept in 2021-22. However, the council accepted that this first phase was essential to determine the viability of the project, as is the case with all significant infrastructure schemes.

And for Winchelsea, as our attendance at the meeting helped to show, this is of course a very significant project. The speeding of vehicles through the town continues to increase, with daily examples of dangerous driving which residents and visitors have to endure, including in their journeys to and from the school, the church and the shop (and soon to the pub also we hope).

Therefore, there is still a way to go and obstacles to be cleared, but we can look forward to some more progress at last.  We hope also that success with this project can be the beginning of further schemes to curb speeding and traffic dangers across the parish, including on the A259, following decades of underinvestment in roads throughout the local area.

The participation of so many residents in the 1st March meeting was able to demonstrate to the council how big and vital a priority this is for the town. The campaign needs to continue – to ensure completion of the plans for the first design phase and to help support negotiations for funding for the eventual scheme to be implemented. Consideration of some aspects of the next stage of this process will probably be on the agenda of the next council meeting on 8th March.

Winchelsea Traffic Calming Group