Does anybody check road closures?

Deadmans Lane. Escc should come and take a look

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) has advertised under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 “The East Sussex (U6433 Deadmans Lane, Rye) (Temporary Prohibition of Traffic) Order 2019”.

And, before you switch off, this leads me to consider that next Monday’s special Rye Town Council meeting (September 16) needs to look very closely indeed at ESCC’s proposals for CPE (Civil Parking Enforcement with traffic wardens and parking meters and permits) in the town.
Why you ask? Well ESCC’s attention to detail seems rather careless on occasion (to put it politely).

For example, BT wants to dig up Deadmans Lane for phone cabling work which requires a Temporary Road Closure Order (TRCO) from September 16  for 18 months – though the work is actually expected to be done in three days – and the Order is ESCC’s responsibility as it covers highways other than major roads.

Now Deadmans Lane is one way only for traffic from Rye Hill to the junction of The Grove and Love Lane, and some people use it to reach the schools in Love Lane.

But others use it as a short cut to avoid the one way systems in the Landgate, and from the Fishmarket Road junction with New Road round South Undercliff to Strand Quay.

And the short cut enables the drivers concerned to either turn left at the end of Rope Walk in order to get into the High Street one way and the hilltop parts of the old town, or turn right along Cinque Ports Street towards Ferry Road, Tilling Green and Udimore.

However the notice of the Order then goes on to provide “an alternative route for through traffic southbound via The Grove, Rope Walk etc etc, but what “through traffic” as Deadmans Lane will be closed to through traffic.

ESCC’s notice then gets worse as “northbound through traffic” is sent via Playden, Peasmarsh, Four Oaks, Beckley, Horns Cross, Broad Oak and Udimore in order to arrive back at Ferry Road and onwards to The Grove.

Quite possibly ESCC will claim BT gave them this information, but I would expect ESCC (as they are responsible for roads as a highways authority and no doubt have maps galore) to at least check before publishing what is their order – as I was expected to check papers when I worked in Whitehall for nearly 20 years.

I therefore suggest that the town council, councillors and business reps have no choice but to thoroughly check everything ESCC is proposing for Rye as at least they have local knowledge – and can pinpoint possible ESCC carelessness in our historic town with its many “one ways” – like Deadmans Lane !

Image Credits: Rye News library .


  1. The closure boards were in place again yesterday – basically 2 weeks from 16th September. As we have repeatedly said, Deadman’s Lane is one of only two access roads to Rye town centre and its’ appearance to those that don’t know belies its’ importance. Any closures should be kept to an absolute minimum, and ideally only at night. Perhaps if the contractors had to pay each user that they inconvenience a penalty equating to the additional cost of fuel and time lost, they would be a little more diligent and only close the road when absolutely necessary?

    in the meantime, Deadman’s Lane’s surface is falling apart. Are there any plans to carry out repairs during the period of closure?

  2. I refer to Charles Harkness’s letter in Rye News titled “Does anybody check road closures?” The County Council receives over 30,000 Permit applications each year for roadworks across the county and the onus is on those utility companies and their contractors to comply with legislation and provide accurate information relating to their works, road closures and diversion routes.
    In the case of Deadman’s Lane, BT attempted to start work in Deadman’s Lane earlier this year without the necessary Permit and the County Council’s Network Management team stopped the work. BT subsequently applied for a Permit to provide a new telecom / broadband service. In their application BT anticipated the works would take 7 days and would require a full road closure to comply with the Traffic Management Act, but requested a 10 day Permit to allow for anything untoward that might crop up during their works.
    In granting the Permit for these works, the County Council’s expectation is that the contractor would work efficiently and the road would be re-opened as soon as the works were complete. The Council’s Network Management team is aware that the signing on site is inadequate and has issued a fixed penalty fine and instructed BT to improve their signage.
    The County Council is aware of the sensitivities around Deadmans Lane and the volume of traffic that uses this road. We are also conscious that the closure of Deadmans Lane clashes with the Rye Arts Festival and therefore before issuing the Permit for these works the Council’s Network Management Team did liaise with the Town Council.
    With regard to the advertised diversion route, the Council has checked the diversion routes proposed by BT. Diversion routes have to accord with various rules and traffic management legislation, and in this particular case BT has tried to minimise congestion in the town centre. Of course local residents and traders will usually find their own way.
    So to answer Mr Harkness’s question “Does anybody check road closures” whilst the County Council does not have the resources to check each and every one of the 30,000 Permit applications we receive each year, we are aware of local sensitivities like Deadmans Lane and have checked this particular road closure.

  3. But has it been checked that BT’s method statement really does minimise the period of road closure and the duration of the works; or is it to keep the contractor’s options open, at the expense of the huge number of people that are reliant on this route? ESCC may well be familiar with the importance of this road – I suspect that BT’s works planners may not be.

    And what about that window of opportunity presented to carry out essential repairs?

  4. Can someone explain the scrotty hand-written road closure sign that has appeared outside Simply Italian this week? Is this a prank, because if not it is quite outrageous that any organisation plans to shut our roads and cause inconvenience should hold the public in such utter contempt? The grubby and barely legible scrawl on a big yellow sign mirrors what appeared in Deadmans Lane a few weeks ago.


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