Ten week roadwork scheme for Balcombe Road blasted by residents

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Residents who claim they ‘take their lives in their hands’ when they cross their road, have said a planned ten-week roadwork scheme will not improve safety.

A bend on Balcombe Road has become a ‘black spot’ for cars turning over on to their roofs and West Sussex County Council will start a major roadworks scheme on June 8.

The works aim to stop cars from overturning by making the bend more obvious to oncoming traffic with the use of a new solid kerb line,which should act as a natural speed calmer and stop motorists from suddenly noticing the bend at the last minute.

But residents descended on project engineer Bernadette Gledhill during a public exhibition of the scheme on Thursday and told her they had not been involved in the consultation and the scheme would not slow traffic.

“People take their lives in their hands when they cross that road,” said Bruce Lambert, of Balcombe Road.

“There’s nothing in the scheme that will slow the traffic and it’s the speed that’s the issue so this won’t make a difference.”

Mark Lindfield, of Orchard Way, added: “The speed of traffic is 60mph at times. This year I’ve seen three cars on their roofs.”

Mr Lambert’s wife Sue agreed and said she was disappointed that this was the first time that she and some of her neighbours were aware of a any public consultation taking place.

Miss Gledhill explained that the exhibition was to inform residents about road closures and after three years of consultation, it was too late to change the plans.

Other residents said they had been involved in the consultation and felt happy this scheme was the best that can be offered on this type of road.

Some footways will be widened, the existing footways will be resurfaced and the northern end of Barnmead will be narrowed. A zebra crossing will be installed at the bottom of Balcombe Road, near Barnard Gate.

Roy Barton, an OAP who lives in Mill Hill Close, said he was pleased with the plans.

He said: “We’ve wanted a zebra crossing for years as there’s no path on our side and now we seem to finally be getting it.”

The works will take place under temporary traffic lights for two weeks then the stretch will close for eight weeks, with the exception of access traffic.

The scheme gained full support from the Mid Sussex County Local Committee in 2012.

In response to those who said they had not heard anything about the scheme, Miss Gledhill said the details of the scheme went out to consultation back in the summer of 2013.

“This scheme is something residents and town and council councillors have been working with WSCC for three years to have in place and they are happy the scheme is due to start after delays because the road space in Haywards Heath was unavailable.”

Haywards Heath Town Councillor Sandy Ellis said: “This consultation has been well supported by residents and a long time coming.

“We’ve got elderly residents living at the bottom and no crossing so the benefits of the scheme outweigh some of the concerns.”