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Chapter 11: Transport & Accessibility

11.1 With Hastings being located on the periphery of the South East region and having limited strategic transport infrastructure, connectivity is a key issue. This combined with local accessibility issues to services including healthcare, education and jobs is a key contributory factor in hampering economic recovery and contributes to the level of deprivation that is experienced in the town.

11.2 The transport priority is to improve strategic access by road and rail to reduce the town’s relative isolation and open up areas for housing and business development. This needs to be complemented with measures that efficiently manage movement within the town as well as supporting local access by walking, cycling and public transport, to move Hastings towards a more sustainable transport future.

11.3 The East Sussex Local Transport Plan (LTP3) 2011-2026 forms the transport policy framework for Hastings and the other districts and boroughs in East Sussex. It identifies Hastings and Bexhill together as a priority area, recognising that greater investment is needed for transport measures to support regeneration and further development.

11.4 The high level objectives of the Local Transport Plan are to:

  • improve economic competitiveness and growth
  • improve safety, health and security
  • tackle climate change
  • improve accessibility and enhance social inclusion
  • improve quality of life

Strategic Road and Rail Schemes

11.5 There are a number of road and rail improvement schemes that are essential to improve accessibility to and from Hastings.

Strategic road schemes

11.6 The main priority for the town is the delivery of the Bexhill - Hastings Link Road. This is a central part of the strategy in order to achieve successful local regeneration and growth in Hastings and Bexhill. Planning permission was approved for The Link Road in 2009, and a public inquiry into the compulsory purchase order was held towards the end of the same year. With the Secretary of State’s announcement in March 2012, which confirmed provisional funding approval, the last major remaining hurdle to be overcome before construction could go ahead was passed. Construction commenced in January 2013 and is expected to be completed by December 2014.

11.7 The other strategic priority for road improvement is the A21 trunk road – it being the direct link between Hastings and London/M25. Trunk roads are the responsibility of the Highways Agency. It has been acknowledged by previous strategic studies that a material reduction in the journey time between Hastings and the M25 would contribute significantly to the economic well-being of the town.

11.8 Following the Government Spending Review in 2010, opportunities for improving the A21 are more limited than before. The A21 Tonbridge to Pembury scheme has been retained and is currently expected to be constructed in the post 2015 period although Kent and East Sussex partners are working with the Government to see if it can be delivered to an earlier timescale.

Rail Schemes

11.9 The East Sussex LTP3 acknowledges the existing shortcomings in the rail network between Hastings and London, as well as the opportunity to improve rail links between Hastings and Ashford. As a result of its own studies Network Rail, supported by East Sussex County Council and Kent County Council, has concluded that  a series of line speed improvements are possible which will be introduced during the next few years. These are expected to reduce journey times to Ashford and offer more flexibility in timetabling which can be important in, for example, harmonising connections with the High Speed One services to London.

11.10 As identified in the East Sussex LTP3, the following rail schemes and improvements to a number of rail services are required to support development in the town up to 2028.


  • Upgrading of Ore Station
  • Hastings to Tonbridge capacity and power supply improvements


  • Retention of the Hastings to City of London services – direct trains from Hastings to Cannon Street
  • Improvements to services from Ashford International rail station to the continent.

11.11 Whilst there is no certainty of delivery of these at this stage we will continue to lobby and influence Network Rail and train operating companies, in partnership with East Sussex County Council, to maintain and enhance rail capacity and services to accommodate growth.

POLICY T1: Strategic Road and Rail Schemes

The Council will seek the earliest possible implementation of the following road and rail schemes that will reduce peripheriality, and support the regeneration of Hastings:

  • Bexhill - Hastings Link Road
  • Wider improvements to the A21 and A259 corridor
  • Ashford to Hastings line – capacity and journey time improvements
  • Hastings to Tonbridge line capacity and power supply improvements

Local road improvements

11.12 Within Hastings itself the priority is to make efficient and effective use of the existing road network – through traffic management and through encouraging the optimum use of the roads. However, there is some scope for limited local improvements as well.

11.13 East Sussex County Council has undertaken an initial assessment of proposed locations for development in Hastings and their potential impact on the highway network. Further assessment is being undertaken in  order to assist in identifying appropriate highway improvements to mitigate potential capacity problems at a number of locations on the network. Developers will be expected to contribute towards these improvements in order to facilitate the development of housing and employment growth.

11.14 The Bexhill - Hastings Link Road will also require a number of complementary measures to support its introduction. These include:

  • The Ridge junction improvements
  • A259 Bexhill Road Bus Corridor

POLICY T2: Local Road Improvements

The Council will safeguard land required for highway improvements, in particular:

  • any land required to implement complementary measures for the Bexhill - Hastings Link Road
  • any land required to implement highway improvements required as a result of the proposals in the Planning Strategy.

The Council’s role in both strategic and local road improvements is to work with partners, particularly the Highways Agency and East Sussex County Council to secure the timely delivery of these schemes.

Sustainable transport

11.15 Making the most of the existing transport network requires a number of measures to encourage sustainable travel. To support this, the delivery of complementary sustainable transport infrastructure improvements, including improvements to public transport, walking and cycling routes will be required. Consideration will be given to a sustainable transport link along the seafront. We recognise the impact that this could have in the town by offering more travel choices for local people to access the services that the town provides.

Quality Bus Partnership

11.16 Delivering increased bus use by maintaining and improving the quality of commercial services will be achieved through the Quality Bus Partnership in Hastings. This is a partnership between East Sussex County Council, Hastings Borough Council and Stagecoach, which aims to deliver better bus services and facilities in the town, through the Quality Bus Partnership Action Plan1. This focuses on improving services and infrastructure to deliver improved punctuality on a number of key bus corridors that provide access to key services including the Conquest Hospital and Sussex Coast College. Improvements could potentially include the implementation of bus priority and/or bus lanes on these key corridors along with ‘Real Time Passenger Information’, but considerable investment in appropriate infrastructure to support the delivery of this would be required.

11.17 New development will be required to provide a transport contribution to help support this infrastructure, providing local transport improvements aimed at supporting access to development by sustainable modes of travel. The level of contribution is determined by development type its location and existing accessibility levels.

Strategic network of cycle routes

11.18 A strategic network of cycle routes has been identified that will link local communities with key services in the town, including employment, healthcare and education, together with green spaces. This will be achieved in the plan period by a combination of development contributions being secured and public investment through the delivery of East Sussex County Council’s LTP3 to support the delivery of access to existing services and new development by walking and cycling.

11.19 We have been working with partners to help extend the existing National Cycleway Network along the  Seafront, which now forms part of this strategic network. SUSTRANS and East Sussex County Council worked to bring forward the section between Bulverhythe and Glyne Gap; with Hastings Borough Council bringing forward the section between Robertson Street and the Old Town. These were opened in 2012.

POLICY T3: Sustainable Transport

The Council will work with East Sussex County Council using the Local Transport Plan 3 policy framework and other partners to achieve a more sustainable transport future for Hastings.  Particular priority will be given to:

  • improving bus routes, through support for the provision and improvement of bus priority lanes and junction approaches, services and passenger facilities,
  • supporting the provision of new and enhanced cycle routes in the town, and in particular, supporting the implementation of the strategic cycle network as identified on the key diagram and the Policies Map,
  • improving walking routes for pedestrians,
  • ensuring that new development is located close to existing public transport provision where possible,
  • requiring developers to consider the needs of pedestrians and cyclists in developments and deliver appropriate measures,
  • improving the safety of the highway network,
  • improving air quality and the environment generally,
  • examining the potential for adopting other “smarter choices” measures, including workplace and school travel plans; travel awareness campaigns, car clubs/car sharing schemes, teleworking and home shopping

Transport Assessments maybe required for development schemes depending on the potential impact on the road network.

Travel plans

11.20 Major developments and those generating significant amounts of traffic will need to be located in areas that are accessible to a range of sustainable travel options in order to reduce car dependency. In support of this, developments will be required to produce travel plans, which provide a framework for the development and delivery of targeted travel information and initiatives.

POLICY T4: Travel Plans

Major developments2  will be required to produce a travel plan, in line with guidance from East Sussex County Council, and will be expected to contribute to improved transport infrastructure, particularly for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.

Car parking

11.21 Regeneration of the town centre is a key focus area of the strategy and this can, alongside other measures, be achieved by ensuring local people and tourists can access the services and attractions that the town provides.

11.22 Taxing private parking space in the town centre, or road charging, is not considered to be appropriate for Hastings at this time. We do however, recognise the importance of striking a balance between providing car parking provision in the town centre, alongside the provision of sustainable transport options.

11.23 Where appropriate the provision of sustainable transport infrastructure will be fully exploited before consideration is given to limit any car parking. This will ensure that the economic regeneration of Hastings is not prejudiced, and it will place the town in a prime position to compete with other South Coast centres.

11.24 East Sussex County Council as the highways authority, advises Hastings Borough Council on the matters of off street parking provision (amongst other things) when it is required within new development. Guidance is produced and reviewed in partnership between East Sussex County Council and The District and Borough Councils across East Sussex. The Development Management Plan will include a provision that supports the application of these standards for new developments.

Park and Ride

11.25 To be successful, Park and Ride schemes need to be able to generate a significant cost and/or time advantage to users and generally work well where there is limited town centre parking and where car parking pricing discourages accessing town centres by car.

11.26 We do not consider these criteria to apply in the case of Hastings and are keen to ensure effective management of car parking in the first instance. However if circumstances changed during the lifetime of the Local Plan and it was proved there was an identified need, it was financially viable, and a suitable site was available, then proposals for Park and Ride could be considered. Any future proposals would be dependent on:

  • the capacity and use of parking in the town centre
  • the cost of parking in the town centre
  • site location
  • whether setting up a Park and Ride would be financially viable
  • an assessment on the capacity of the road network
  • demand management

It will be important to weigh the wider environmental benefits of such a scheme against the potential loss of amenity caused by the impact of a large car park.

2. Major development is that which falls within the thresholds set out in the East Sussex County Council 'Guidance on Travel Plans for New developments (2008)'.

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