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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 February, 2005, 19:58 GMT
Bypass for A21 villages unveiled
Plans for a new bypass to ease traffic on the A21 in Kent and Sussex have been announced by the government.

The government's preferred 5.5 mile route will bypass the villages of Flimwell, Hurst Green and Silver Hill.

The A21 - the main road connecting London and Hastings - currently takes thousands of vehicles a day through all the villages on single carriageway.

The bypass will run from the south end of the dual carriageway at Flimwell to the top of the Robertsbridge bypass.

'Major step forward'

Campaigners have for years called for more of the A21 to be made dual carriageway and for it to be routed away from some of the towns and villages it passes through in Kent and East Sussex.

MPs whose constituencies the A21 passes through, including Hastings MP Michael Foster and Tunbridge Wells MP Archie Norman, have vocally backed plans to improve the road.

Transport Minister David Jamieson said: "Today's decision marks a major step forward in the upgrading of the A21 to Hastings and ends a period of uncertainty for those living on or close to the existing route.

The A21 at Flimwell
The new bypass would start from the dual carriageway at Flimwell

"The improved A21 will deliver a safer route that will reduce community severance whilst providing a high standard link to Hastings which will aid the economic regeneration of the town."

Highways Agency figures show the existing single carriageway road carries 18,500 vehicles a day through Flimwell and 15,800 through Hurst Green.

Commuters on the road have suffered lengthy periods of disruption over the past year while the road surface has been replaced in the area around south of Hurst Green.

The route for the new road passes through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Highways Agency said alternative options had been "carefully considered".

The Transport Minister also confirmed proposals for upgrading other sections of the A21 - between Lamberhurst and Flimwell and from Robertsbridge to Hastings - would be reviewed.

Details of the proposed bypass route will be on display in the post offices in Flimwell, Hurst Green and Robertsbridge until the end of March.

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