ADMIRAL FIELD (Sussex, Eastbourne)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been drawn to the difficulties which have arisen over the repair of the high road connecting Newhaven with Seaford, which has been seriously damaged by sea encroachments, between the East Sussex County Council and the District Councils of the two places in question; whether he is aware that a joint committee of the two District Councils reported in favour of the construction of a new road as the best way out of the difficulty, but that the County Council declined to assist in the matter; whether he is aware that neither the County Council nor the Newhaven Rural District Council will undertake to repair the said road; whether he is aware that the said road is the only road from Sea-ford to the county town of Lewes, and the only road on that part of the coast for military movements; whether he can state what public authority is primarily responsible for the repair of the said road; and, whether, seeing that the damaged portion of the road is outside the boundary of Seaford district and is likely to be rendered impassable in the coming autumn, he will be pleased to intimate to the East Sussex County Council that they had better undertake the repair of the road, charging the cost to Newhaven and Seaford District Councils respectively, and thus extricate the two parishes from the present deadlock?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. HENRY CHAPLIN,) Lincolnshire, Sleaford
My attention has been drawn to the case referred to by my hon. and gallant Friend, and I believe that the facts are substantially as stated by him. As I understand, the existing road is a road of the Newhaven Rural District Council, and, if so, that body are prima facie responsible for its repair. The County Council would not appear to be in a position to repair it at the present time. If, however, complaint were made to them by the Parish Council of one of the parishes interested that the Rural District Council has failed to maintain the road in a good and substantial manner, it would appear that the County 1545 Council, if satisfied after due inquiry of the default, might resolve that the duties and powers of the Rural District Council in the matter should be transferred to them, and such powers would then be transferred accordingly. Or the several local authorities interested might enter into an agreement for the improvement or reconstruction of the road. I agree with any hon. and gallant Friend that it appears very desirable that steps should be taken to put the road into a proper state, but the Local Government Board have no power in the matter.