Road chaos – enough is enough

Traffic comes to a grinding halt at Strand Quay

Witnessed at Strand Quay earlier this week:

Two articulated lorries with a wide load (a mobile home) on each and preceded by an escort vehicle, trying to drive down Strand Quay in the direction of South Undercliff. First the lorries had to wait at the Kettle of Fish roundabout (effectively blocking it) for the road ahead to be cleared of oncoming traffic (legitimately parked cars reduce the road to single track in places). Having negotiated the roundabout, another halt was necessary at the end of the Quay to allow traffic to clear from South Undercliff.

This chap thinks he can get down Wish Ward
This chap thinks he can get down Wish Ward

This took a while and, tired of waiting and doubtless wanting to catch the first ferry back home to his knockwurst and sauerkraut supper, a German truck driver immediately behind the mobile homes decided to turn into the slip road leading to The Strand, with a view to taking his vehicle with its 40ft trailer down Wish Ward and, presumably, leaving the town via Cinque Ports Street and Landgate (see pictures). Halfway through the manoeuvre even he realised that this was not a sensible idea and, despite the fact that traffic behind him had moved up to fill the space he had vacated,  tried to reverse, blind, back onto the Strand Quay road…….. And then they all had to get round the sharp left hand bend by Alsfords.

If it wasn’t for the fact that incidents like this happen on an almost daily basis, it would have been quite funny. Sadly, however, the joke wore thin a long time ago. The problem largely arises because this is the A259 which is still designated a trunk road and therefore, by definition, suitable for large and heavy vehicles and this in turn means that it will appear as an alternative to motorways on the drivers’ sat navs.

At one time it was intended to by pass Rye and other towns and villages with a new road starting from Ashford and going all the way to Devon. But they got as far as Brenzett and then stopped. The problem, it appeared, apart from cost, was that Boggy and his tree-hugging friends were making such a fuss about the odd dormouse and great crested newt that were going to have to move house, that it was decided that they were more important than human lives and the scheme was dropped.

Surely the time has come to re-visit the argument – yes I know all the objections: the newts, the trees, the areas of natural beauty etc, etc, and I know that we currently live in a cash-strapped country where the only money is in the hands of the bankers who caused us to be cash-strapped  in the first place. But there comes a time when consideration has to be given to us, the humans who also inhabit this planet and this town. The constant influx of heavy traffic does us no good. They don’t stop or spend money here, they cause congestion not just on the A259 but also elsewhere in town, they certainly don’t make the town a more attractive place to our visitors and they affect the health and safety of those living on or near the road. A bypass would also reduce noise, pollution, enable visitors to see the town as it should be seen and potentially increase the attraction of the industrial and business areas – such as Harbour Road – to outside businesses thereby bringing increased employment and prosperity.

Against all this, is the alleged disruption to the countryside that a road would cause really such a disaster? Roads can be landscaped, habitats restored and created and trees planted. None of this will happen tomorrow with a wave of Harry Potter’s wand, but if we start the argument going now, perhaps some of us will still be around to benefit when it is built.





Photos: John Minter

Image Credits: John Minter .


  1. Excellent comment which I fully endorse, this is an argument that will no doubt run and run, but none the less is well worth reapproaching. I still have a copy of another project, sadly abandoned due to a newt; in 1964 planning permission was granted for a small yacht marina to be constructed on boggy land adjacent to the sailing club at Rye harbour. This could have been a great source of employment for the town both in itself and the knock on effect for other businesses in Rye. Sadly the ubiquitous newt raised his head, and the project was cancelled. Curiously, newt has not been seen in the area since that time.

  2. This is a rather pathetic article from John Minter. Think about it, what caused the ‘traffic chaos’? Two low loaders with wide width mobile homes. Of course they’ll block the road, it’s a no-brainer. Why can’t they be transported at 3am? To save the company a few hundred pounds, that’s why. Instead, the author proposes forming a new road costing the public a few hundred million pounds, despoiling wide swathes of countryside in the process. Perhaps he is right that the newts have been eradicated by now, is he proud of this? Is that progress? It seems to me that everybody nowadays is after a cheap deal & then will blame everything and everybody else when things go wrong. in this instance, the problem is the traffic, not the roads. Focus on that for a minute, if you can.

  3. Dominic Manning seems to have misunderstood – or maybe I phrased my article badly. This was not an isolated incident, as he seems to be suggesting, but an example of a situation that happens on a daily – and often hourly – basis. He is, however, absolutely right to say that the problem is traffic rather than roads. After all, if there was no traffic the roads we currently have would be more than adequate! The point, however, is that not only is there traffic, but there is a lot of it and it is increasing in both size as well as quantity of vehicles with the result that roads both in and around the Town are no longer adequate and a solution needs to be found. Mr Manning clearly disapproves of a by-pass, but I wonder if he has a better idea?


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