§ The Minister for Roads and Traffic (Mr. Robert Key)
On 19 May, I travelled along the A259/A27 south coast route from Dymchurch to Lewes, passing through Hastings and Rye, to see for myself the road for which we have 11 major schemes programmed.
§ Mrs. Lait
I thank my hon. Friend for that answer and ask him whether he has seen the mischievous article in The Observer yesterday, which said that there might be some falling back in the plans for the A259 through my constituency. Is he aware of the worry that that will cause the nearly 13 per cent. of my constituents who are unemployed and can he assure me that the economic development of my constituency, which is so vital, will proceed speedily with the continuation of those road plans?
§ Mr. Key
Yes, I thought that it was mischievous, too. My hon. Friend is right about the economic importance of transport in her area. Much of the A259 is picturesque, but primitive to say the least. Rye certainly needs its bypass, although the tunnel is expensive. The biggest problem is the Winchelsea to Icklesham section and I have asked the chief executive of the Highways Agency to reconsider the needs of the area. That landscape and heritage are not only spectacular but unique and I could not recommend to my right hon. Friend the construction of a new road in the Brede valley.