We have written to all the CEO’s of the organisations that deal with Roads and the immediate environment, indicating our frustration at the lack of action over control of motorists’ and motorbikes’ noise and speed.
The letter is here:
COLDWALTHAM PARISH COUNCIL
(HARDHAM, COLDWALTHAM & WATERSFIELD)
Please reply to:-
Parish Clerk, Coldwaltham Parish Council, Greendene, Codmore Hill, Pulborough,
West Sussex, RH20 1BQ
Tel: 01798 873747, Email: email@example.com
17th November 2022
West Sussex County Council
The A29 – Traffic and Speed Control
We wish to bring to your attention the concerns of residents in our Parish, and their perception of the inadequate responses of local public organisations to the increasing levels of traffic, especially HGVs, and the lack of controls over speed despite a wide range of static warnings along the road.
We believe there is only one realistic solution to this crisis which we set out at the end of this letter. Residents are ‘incredibly angry and frustrated’ by the current traffic position; all we are asking for is the current speed limits to be enforced; we regularly suffer motorcycles doing up to 100 mph, using the bends and straights as a racetrack (as recently described by a visitor). We believe the current situation will ultimately lead to injury and/or loss of life without crossings of the A29 as has happened in Bury.
Coldwaltham and Watersfield are the only villages between Pulborough and the Whiteways roundabout at the top of Bury Hill which are designated with a 30mph speed limit. In spite of all the warnings, this appears to even incentivise drivers not to bother to reduce their speed while travelling through the Parish. This applies with even greater seriousness to motorcyclists.
We have been operating Speedwatch for almost four years – interrupted by Covid, and now in abeyance through lack of new volunteers and the unwillingness of residents to absorb the frequent abuse from motorists. Speedwatch is ineffective the moment a volunteer session ends, and the road is clear once more. The view of many residents is that speeding is a matter for the police.
We have been in contact with the Minister for Roads, who has confirmed that, while the A29 is a network trunk road, it is the responsibility of West Sussex Highways to maintain and keep safe. We have been repeatedly in touch with various members of WSCC Highways team, and we have continued to report incidents to local websites. There have been two major incidents in the past five years locally involving speed and overturned vehicles.
The Parish approached our MP, Andrew Griffith, for support in this matter and we were pleased that he visited the Parish in February 2022 to discuss these matters. This led, eventually, to members of the Highways team making a site visit in July to assess the concerns of the Parish. We were very disappointed to hear that the result was a view that nothing more could be done, given the full signage that exists, and that the village has a small footfall, except during School drop off and pick up times, when a Crossing Supervisor is on duty. The result expressed that it was a matter now for the police; for any further action by Highways, it would have to be an “accident black spot”.
Our local West Sussex Councillor has regularly been in touch with both Highways and Police, and we acknowledge that the police presence – through Operation Crackdown and Downsway has increased during the summer – but this only tends to heighten the difference in speeds at other times. We have been informed that it is unlikely that any further controls, such as crossing points, will be investigated, or planned.
We are disappointed with this on-going situation; we do not believe that residents’ concerns are being heard or addressed.
It is our view that there is only one solution to this situation, in order to maintain and reinforce that there is a 30mph speed limit through our villages. We require that immediate action is taken to plan and install ‘average speed cameras’ at each end of the combined two villages at the points where the 30 mph limits begin.
This is the only solution to ensure that 24/7 drivers respect this limit, without the need for police or speedwatch patrols into the future, thus saving valuable police time. We humbly suggest that the place for police control is at the foot of Bury hill in the 50mph zone, rather than through our two villages where a 24/7 control is needed. At the very least, a static camera in Coldwaltham – facing both north and south – at the School/Arun Vale junction might be acceptable.
We would welcome discussions about funding such initiatives.
Chair of Coldwaltham Parish Council