Crowborough has access to major road networks, and to other nearby towns via the A26 that runs north-south through the town. There is a network of minor roads that make the east – west links into adjacent villages. None of these roads are dual carriageways and journey times very much depend on the state of the traffic flow on these single carriage roads. Routes to the motorway network are not direct. The M25 is accessed at Godstone via the A22 and the M23 is accessed via A273 at Crawley Down.
Crowborough has a railway station at Jarvis Brook that provides an hourly service to London throughout the day and evening and which also links the town with places to the south as far as Uckfield. The train is served by a half hourly bus services throughout the day until 6.30p.m from the town centre. Only the London bound platform is accessible to wheelchairs providing major inconvenience to wheelchair passengers at the beginning or end of their journey.
Crowborough has a good bus service to Tunbridge Wells throughout the day (4 per hour) but effectively no evening service. Two buses an hour connect the town with Uckfield, Lewes and Brighton. This has recently increased in frequency from an hourly to half hourly service reflecting the increasing demand.
Buses to and from the surrounding villages are poor at best and non existent in many cases. However, there is a Community Transport bus for elderly residents who cannot get around very easily; it is based on a dial-and- ride system offering, say, disabled folk with ‘door to door’ transport to get to the supermarkets/High Street in Crowborough from within Crowborough and surrounding villages. It also provides inexpensive trips to Sainsbury’s and the Main shopping precinct in Tunbridge Wells one day each week. However, this service is under threat of withdrawal and although local authority (ESCC) funding has been found to extend the contract for an additional period, such funding may not be available beyond March 2006.
School buses bring children into Beacon Community College from outlying areas and some of these buses then operate a town or village service during school hours.
There is a major problem with transport to hospitals, notably in Pembury and Maidstone.
The co-ordination of bus and rail services would greatly improve the usefulness of public transport to local people, especially as there is no taxi service at the station.
The rail service is being actively promoted through the Community Rail Partnership that has an officer based at Eridge Station. The aim is to promote the increased use of the line and improve the provision of services locally including the links to the rail services. A promotional leaflet about the Uckfield line has just been produced that is part of the overall campaign.
Access to post -16/post-18 education for those without a car is dictated by the bus services. Therefore individuals are more likely to attend West Kent or Lewes Colleges in the area.
There are some areas where traffic / pedestrian conflict is a real issue, namely in Crowborough Hill and Western Road. In the latter the use of Western Road by large lorries accessing the industrial estate is an additional hazard. A particular danger spot is the bus stop serving Eridge Station, which requires passengers to cross the busy carriageway of A26.
Improvements that will ease movement around the town centre are incorporated in the plans for the supermarket development. The most notable need for improvement is to improve the width of pavement on the south side of the High Street.
The pedestrian signage in the town centre needs rationalisation and improvement. Again this is included in the improvement plans associated with the supermarket developments and it is essential that there are well signposted, easily accessible and attractive walkways between the Town Centre shops and the supermarket.
The network of twittens within the town is well used and could be improved as some parts of the network are in need of maintenance.
Additional information regarding the condition of town centre pavements, specific and general accessibility issues experienced by members of the public and an assessment of the need for provision for cyclists in the town all require further survey work. There are specific accessibility problems for some of the town centre shops and businesses because of the nature of the buildings there but no overall survey has been undertaken in recent years.
There is a Crowborough Local Area Transport Strategy that was developed in consultation with a wide variety of community and local authority involvement. Only a few of the shorter term projects have been implemented, however funding has been earmarked by ESCC in their capital expenditure programme for planned improvements. It is very important that increased momentum for implementation of these projects is actively pursued as they can benefit many sectors of the local communityup