Link to Juliet OxborrowThe pandemic shutdown has created an invaluable opportunity to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists, reduce pollution and create better shared space in Lewes, say Cycle Lewes and Lewes Living Streets

Everyone seems to agree that social distancing will remain a key weapon against Covid-19 for some time.  Which means we may need to rethink how we use our public spaces, including our roads.

Cycle Lewes and Lewes Living Streets are calling for a redesign of key public roads in Lewes to encourage less traffic, less speeding and create more space for pedestrians and cyclists. This, they believe, could enable residents to move around more easily and safely, encourage visitors and tourists into town, as well as reducing air pollution and carbon emissions (a third of which globally are generated by transport).

Cycle Lewes and Lewes Living Streets have proposed eight steps to reduce traffic and improve shared space in central Lewes:

  1. Remove on-street parking along Lewes High Street, School Hill, Friars Walk and Lansdown Place (give residents with permits free parking in off-street car parks instead)
  2. Reallocate that space to pedestrians and contra-flow for cyclists, dependent on configurations.
  3. Restrict loading and unloading to certain hours in these areas.
  4. Ban all traffic from Cliffe High Street except during limited loading periods.
  5. Reduce the amount of ‘through traffic’ coming in/out of Lewes (which should use the A27 by-pass) through signage, narrower carriageways, and change of phasing of traffic lights (including priority for pedestrians).
  6. Provide two-way access for cyclists on Little East Street (either along its full length or to Albion Street and then make School Hill from Albion Street down to Eastgate Street two-way).
  7. Restrict motor traffic around schools to pick up and drop off times during term time.
  8. Rigorously enforce the 20mph and other speed limits in town including use of all CCTV.

Sheila O’Sullivan at Cycle Lewes says: “We recognise the need to develop plans that are sympathetic to our local traders as well as residents and visitors. By working with businesses, their representative bodies, local councillors and residents, we believe we can reduce noise and pollution, enable safe social distancing and make our town a more pleasant place to be.”

She adds; “The recent lockdown has created a golden opportunity to rethink radically how space in central Lewes is used for the benefit of everyone. Let’s not waste it.”

To share your views or join the campaign for More Safer Space, go to Cycle Lewes or  Living Streets.

What do you think of these proposals? Share your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.


  1. Pam

    I agree cycling through Lewes needs to be better, there’s not obvious signing going from Kingston to cycle route along the east bound A27.
    Only being able to turn left coming out of Waitrose is crazy as it takes you into a one way system which can be very busy. Why not put traffic lights there to enable people to turn right to get out of Lewes easily. We don’t all live in Lewes, so occasionally need to drive to the shops from outlying villages.

  2. Chris Yarrow

    In addition, could we have greater priority for pedestrians at controlled crossings? eg at the bottom of Little East Street and between the tunnel and “Tesco roundabout.”. Alternatively, why not convert these to zebra crossings? Faster and cheaper.
    A roundabout was proposed at the bottom of Little East Street many years ago. If there were one, traffic from Waitrose need not make a long, polluting detour in order to head to Malling. Also a large carpark on the brooks south of the Railway Land, with access over the river opposite Cliffe Industrial Estate, with electric taxis/delivery vehicles. For every space provided, remove one within the town
    Cycling within Lewes, if needs be by ebikes, should be the desired mode of transport.

  3. Sonya Baksi

    All very welcome but we would need to keep the disabled parking bays in the High Street, Station Street, School Hill and Friars Walk as you will be aware they are much used. I expect this could be incorporated into the scheme.

  4. Claire Duc

    I would point out that Albion Street leads between East Street and School Hill not Little East Street.
    Peculiarly Lewes Little East Street is the wide, 2 lane road from the police station to Phoenix Causeway and Eastgate Church. East Street is the narrow, single lane road going up the side of the bus station, coming out opposite the telephone Exchange.

    Sadly, traffic is already greatly increased in Little East Street and other roads since just before the call to return to work. It isn’t yet as bad as before Covid 19 but it is rising fairly steadily.

    The roundabout proposal at the bottom of Little East Street is part of the Phoenix development I believe.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *