The Traffic

Our past successes were the halting of the County Council’s disastrous Inner Relief Road Plan, which would have split the town in half; and our championing of the Southern Bypass and the building of the Cuilfail Tunnel.

The former would have split the town in half by a trunk road running, unbelievably, from the Prison Crossroads through The Paddock, skirting Lewes Castle and so to Phoenix Causeway (see map below). Pedestrians wishing to cross this Inner Relief Road from North to South Lewes would have had to use a footbridge or a tunnel, with a constant stream of traffic pouring through. In the event the Southern Bypass was built.

Proposed Route of Relief Road

Map of the Lewes relief road as originally proposed

The relief road was first proposed before the war and the first stage was approved by the Ministry of Transport in 1963. The first stage, comprising Phoenix Causeway and the widening of Little East Street, was accepted by the Society in principle, but not in detail – in particular, concern was expressed over buildings at the corner of East Street and Market Street.

However, the Southern Bypass was supported in principle by the Society, which mustered opposition against the County’s relief road proposals. A long and exhausting campaign followed, culminating with the Public Inquiry in 1972, at which the Society and all those who had fought for the Bypass, were successful.

The second major issue was the prospect in the 1970s of widening South Street to carry north/south traffic. The Society was again active in promoting the Cuilfail Tunnel which became the preferred route.