Residents 'take their lives into their hands' pulling out of driveway in Burgess Hill

A group of residents in Burgess Hill ‘take their lives into their hands’ when they pull out of their driveway each day.

The residents, who live in Folders Lane, say road safety is being compromised because of the ‘high volume of traffic’ and ‘motorists exceeding the 30mph limit’.

Councillor Anne Jones with Rod Doone (left) and Roger and Mary Whaley

Councillor Anne Jones with Rod Doone (left) and Roger and Mary Whaley

They are also concerned about a proposed housing development for more than 70 homes opposite them.

Roger and Mary Whaley have lived in Folders Lane for 30 years and have seen it change ‘dramatically’ in that time. Roger, 70, told the Middy: “It has moved from what was essentially a lane to now a large urban development where road traffic congestion has increased enormously.

“Our concern is the site entrance to the new Folders Grove development that is proposed and we feel as immediate residents, road safety is being compromised.

“We share a driveway with three houses here. There are eight cars entering and exiting on a regular basis.

"We take our lives into our hands when we come out of here. It is not just as motorists we feel safety is being compromised, it is pedestrians too.

“Although there is a 30mph speed limit no one ever keeps to this and there is no monitoring done.”

Mary added: “We are lucky that we are now retired so we can avoid using the road in rush hour. But we are worried about young children and families.”

Mid Sussex District Council refused planning permission for the Folders Grove development in 2014, but it was granted by the independent planning inspector.

Rod Doone, 76, said a right-hand turn is proposed and if this is granted ‘there will be a considerable increased possibility of a serious road traffic accident’.

He added: “As residents we are primarily concerned with safety of drivers and pedestrians and we look to the planning and highway authority to ensure that whatever changes are made to Folders Lane are approved in accordance with the planning authority.”

County councillor Anne Jones shares the residents’ concerns. She said: “As a councillor I can’t keep quiet when highway safety is a big issue.

"It is very difficult to enter or leave properties here with all the traffic and with the proposal to have another 70 plus houses coming out onto Folders Lane, it is going to impact enormously on the quality of life for residents.

“There are serious issues that we will have to look at as a highways council for West Sussex. It’s so easy to give planning permission. It is much harder to deal with the consequences of that consent.”

Planning consent has been granted for a residential development in Folders Lane, West Sussex County Council has said.

The approved access to the site is via a right turn lane which requires the existing carriageway to be widened.

A spokesman said: "The design submitted at planning stage identified widening on both sides of the road to achieve the additional lane.

"The preliminary design was subject to an independent stage one road safety audit and the county council did not raise any objection.

"Following the granting of planning consent the developer has applied for a highway agreement to undertake the alterations to the public highway.

"This requires the detailed design to be submitted and an independent stage two road safety audit has been undertaken.

"There is a recommendation in the stage two road safety audit to alter the alignment of the works so as not to reduce the achievable visibility of an existing private access on the north side of Folders Lane.

"Jones Homes (Southern) Ltd’s designer has reviewed the safety audit recommendation and altered the design so that all of the road widening takes place on the southern side of Folders Lane.

"This is achievable within the available publicly maintainable highway but the widening on the south side would require the removal of two mature trees

"Officers from West Sussex County Council have been to site and met with residents to discuss the scheme and their concerns.

"It was agreed that the matter would be referred back to Mid Sussex District Council which are the planning authority to see if the changes to the highway design and associated tree removal would be authorised under the existing planning consent or if a new planning application would be required.

"We are awaiting a response from Mid Sussex District Council."

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