Traffic and roadworks ‘crippling our community’, claim Mid Sussex residents

Traffic in Mid Sussex is ‘crippling’ the community’.

Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 2:44 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 3:16 pm
Traffic in Haywards Heath

Residents in Mid Sussex residents have described the traffic this month as ‘an absolute disgrace’.

Drivers say temporary traffic lights and roadworks mean they have struggled with ‘gridlocked’ traffic since the start of November.

When we asked what the traffic had been like to people on our Facebook page, readers were quick to comment.

Hannah Willis said: It’s crippling our community.

“Kids can’t get to school on time, parents can’t get to work on time.

“It’s making full-on lives even more stressful and no-one is being held accountable.

“The decisions being made about our infrastructure are fragmented so each points a finger at someone else.

“There needs to be oversight to understand the impact on more than a single road.

“Yes we need to develop new housing, yes there are emergencies that need roads digging up, but please, please let’s apply some common sense and get this sorted.”

An overwhelming number of people described how their routes had been affected.

Martin Haslam, senior partner of a firm of chartered accountants and a financial investment adviser, said: “I live in Lindfield and my office is in Burgess Hill.

“The situation between the two is an absolute disgrace. It used to take me 15 minutes in the morning to drive from Lindfield to Burgess Hill but it now takes me up to 45 minutes.

“Everyone I know is complaining about the road works at every entrance road to Burgess Hill and each traffic light can take up to 5 or 10 minutes to get through them.

“They are all bad and so I cannot select just one.

“We are all amazed as to why the council have allowed all the road entrances to Burgess Hill to be blocked up at the same time, could the work not have been phased over a period of months.

“Frankly I find travelling between Lindfield and Burgess Hill and back more exhausting that doing the work I am meant to be doing.”

Debi Mason said how she was on Hanlye in Haywards Heath for more than half an hour on her way back from work, describing at a ‘ridiculous’, while Selena Bartley said it was ‘absolutely rubbish’ and that it took 40 minutes to go from Haywards Heath to Burgess Hill.

Some readers are even feeling the pressure to move away from the area, like Melanie Whitehouse who lives in Ditchling.

She said: “Time to move right away from around here. The relentless building is destroying countryside, wildlife and making it impossible to get around. It needs to stop.

“I live in Ditchling on the B2112 and the traffic is unbelievable and the aggression from drivers too hard to take any more.

“But there are other reasons too [for wanting to move].”

Others criticised malfunctioning traffic light loops on Perrymount Road, with Selena Bartley calling it ‘pollution central’.

Xavier Voigt-Hill, a 22-year-old digital intern who lives in Scaynes Hill and works in London, said: “I get the bus to Haywards Heath every weekday.

“It’s usually at the end of South Road where the one way system starts that the traffic is the worst.

“Usually the bus is absolutely fine, sometimes a couple of minutes either side of the hour late or early but never very late, but on Monday (November 11) it took just under an hour to get to Haywards Heath, and I was late for work.

“I know it’s not the fault of the bus driver, it’s better we have roads being maintained and roadworks than them falling into a state of disrepair and getting investment.

“I’m sure they could do some things at less intrusive times but it’s a bit of traffic for years of benefits.”

Problems with emergency vehicle access was raised by Natalie Michele Hemsley, who said: “I’m concerned about emergency vehicles getting to a destination to be honest, being late for work/school/appointment is one thing but what if someone dies purely because that emergency vehicle cant get through?”

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “Our Street Works team tries to plan and coordinate all activities that require space on West Sussex’s road network, such as for utility and developer works, so there is the least amount of disruption as possible - although some level of inconvenience to road users is, unfortunately, inevitable.

“However, in this instance, from 4 November to 12 November, there were unplanned emergency works, in Oathall Road, for gas distribution company SGN to repair a major gas escape.

“SGN had to use temporary traffic lights, which was for the safety of both the public and workforce, and this caused an unforeseen clash with other works in the area, for which we can only apologise. The emergency repair is now finished, going some way to relieve congestion.

“We would also point out that the current level of development works in West Sussex is high, particularly in Haywards Heath, and this is another reason for the number of roadworks in the town.”

Regarding Perrymount Road traffic lights, they said: “A traffic detector was not working to full efficiency on the Perrymount Drive pedestrian crossing lights and this was adjusted and fixed by our engineer more than a month ago. We have asked engineers to return to ensure it is still running as best it can.

“We have just identified a detection fault at the Muster Green traffic lights which has been causing some additional queuing. To rectify this, we needed to arrange for some parking bays to be suspended.

“Once the work has been completed, which will be as soon as possible, the signals will be back to full working order.”