A short while ago a new gas pipe was laid in Deadmans Lane, a road which, as several readers have pointed out, is one of the two main arteries into Rye.
It is, as most people recognise (with the apparent exception of East Sussex Highways) entirely inadequate for the task. However since the new gas main required the road to be closed for a week while excavation, back filling and making good took place, it would have seemed a good opportunity to, at the very least, resurface it, repairing cracks and filling in potholes.
Unfortunately, it would seem that that the utility companies (gas, water, power) speak neither to each other nor to the highways authority – in this case East Sussex Highways, an arm of the County Council – for no such repairs have been done and no notice has been received that any repairs are planned.
So we now have a situation that is worse than before, with at least one enlarged pothole and a rough piece of replacement tarmac running down the centre which, in the fullness of time will itself crack and become potholed.
It has been recognised for some time that the road needs not just to be repaired and resurfaced, but also to be slightly widened to allow for a footpath. At the moment pedestrians take their life in their hands, being forced to dodge the traffic which all too frequently is travelling at a speed that is too fast for safety.
The answer, surely, is the simple one of moving the fence on the south side of the road back a few feet and constructing a raised footpath. The land required is untended scrub and an existing wall set a little way back from the current boundary would continue to protect the privacy of the owner of the land.
The advantages in both increased safety and improved access would be enormous and would ensure that the accident waiting to happen to a pedestrian – possibly a child on their way to school, using the footpath from the top of the hill that joins the middle of Deadmans Lane – is at least made less likely.
East Sussex Highways, however, regard Rye as, to quote a pre-war politician, “a land of which we know little” and when local road maintenance is required often schedule it without regard to the circumstances of our town. An example would be the attempt to close roads leading to the market on market day or putting long diversions in place on main roads in the height of the tourist season.
Our local representative on East Sussex County Council is also the leader of the council and it seems unfortunate that, although he did prevent Rope Walk from being closed on market day, he seems not to have used any influence to improve this small, but important route into the town. Of course, we may be wrong and perhaps work is scheduled. If so, please councillor, do tell us.
Image Credits: Axa Arcadia.