Peasmarsh Neighbourhood Development Plan 2021-39

Utilities and Infrastructure

Although our NDP will primarily be a land use plan, it will give us the opportunity to raise issues such as sewerage and flooding, public transport, the unreliability of the electricity supply - we seem to have blackouts at frequent intervals - and the speed and density of traffic on the A268.

The results of the first Public Consultation have allowed a list of priorities to be drawn up. Here is the list and what is happening about each of the topics :

First Priority : Drainage

This includes both sewage disposal and surface water drainage; stakeholders report issues with both, the low-lying topography of the parish making both difficult.

Sewage disposal is the responsibility of Southern Water [SW]. At some time in the past the village treatment plant was shut down and replaced by the pumping station down by the old bowls green which is reported to be under- or at least at capacity. The responsible SW manager has been identified with the help of Huw Merriman MP and an urgent meeting has been sought. This is likely to take place in the near future.

Surface water drainage is the responsibility of East Sussex County Council [ESCC]. The vast majority of the parish is classed as flood zone 1 which means flooding only during a one in a thousand year event. However, that seems to be based on marine flooding, not surface water flooding. The frequency of flooding experienced in the village must surely mean that we are in a critical drainage area. The responsible ESCC manager has been identified, again with the help of Huw Merriman MP, and an urgent meeting has been sought. This is likely to take place in the near future.

Second Priority : Public Transport, Roads and Traffic

Stakeholders consider the current frequency and routing of local bus services to be very inadequate. In addition, the A268 through the village is very busy and frequently the traffic is well in excess of the speed limits. The speeding problem is exacerbated by a lack of policing.

The bus services are the responsibility of East Sussex County Council. Our local 'service' - the 313 - is considered not fit for purpose : the frequency is inadequate, there need to be early and late buses and there needs to be a coordinated approach with onward buses and the trains in Rye. In addition, Peasmarsh - which RDC designates as a key service centre - should have more than one bus service with direct destinations such as Tenterden and the Conquest Hospital.

ESSC ran a public consultation on bus services during a short window in late summer 2021. All of the above points were strongly made in a submission to that survey and, to some extent seem to have been adopted - at least as far as frequency goes. It is now up to county to secure funding from central government under the 'Bus Back Better' initiative.

The parish roads are also the responsibility of ESCC and the associated policing is the responsibility of Sussex Police.

Discussions with ESCC are deliberately being delayed until we know where future developments are expected to be. That will allow discussions to be coordinated with access issues in the hope of combining traffic calming measures with access. A roundabout on the A268 at the Jempson's turning would be an example of that. These discussions will be supported by the data now being collected using the parish's newly acquired BlackCAT Traffic Monitor.

Discussions with police can, however, proceed at an early date. Some of us remember a few years ago when a senior officer addressed the parish Annual Assembly and promised regular traffic camera van visits - not that that happened. Again, the BlackCAT data will be used to support discussions which are expected in the first quarter of 2022.

Third Priority : Electricity Supply

The parish – or at least parts of it – experiences frequent supply disruption ranging from less than a second to hours or even days. The substantial increases in demand of the existing population resulting from government policies, as heat source pumping and EV charging are imposed, have also to be considered.

This is the next infrastructure aspect to be addressed. A meeting will be sought with UK Power Networks [UKPN], the responsible party.

Fourth Priority : Telecommunications

There are reports of deterioration of broadband performance at peak periods and cell phone coverage will clearly come under increasing pressure.

Fifth Priority : Health Services

The parish does not have a medical centre or surgery and travel to the practices in Rye and Northiam is difficult due to the public transport issues, quite apart from congestion and enrollment issues at those centres.

Our population is not sufficient for the NHS to support our own surgery [the requisite number is understood to be 10,000 people]. We will therefore have to focus on visiting surgeries in the memorial, hopefully from Northiam as well as Rye.

Other Priorities

There are many other issues raised, which will need to be considered – to include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following :

  • Education, both primary and secondary
  • Fire and Rescue
  • Rubbish collection and disposal
  • Infrastructure maintenance