It is one of the few large towns in the south of England that does not have a direct dual carriageway link to the rest of the country - the nearest contender, the A21, has no dualling until Flimwell, 16 miles away (and even this is largely one lane each way), and still has intermittent S2 sections as far as the Tonbridge bypass, nearly 30 miles away. It also has no proper bypass, though a medley of B roads serves as a "de facto" one avoiding the town centre. As a consequence of its lack of road investment, it is in decline as a centre of tourism and business compared to other towns in the Home Counties.
Proposals were made in 1994 to put right this lack of investment when a bypass of Hastings and Bexhill was planned. This would have been built to D2 standard with grade separated junctions. Together with other planned improvements to the A27 and A259 at the time it would have provided direct dual carriageway links to the rest of the country via the south coast. Most of these improvement schemes were later abandoned including the Hastings Bypass in 2001 even though it survived a public inquiry in 1995-6.