Call for urgent action to improve safety of Plumpton road

Calls for urgent safety improvements to a busy Plumpton rural road have been made this week.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 5:05 pm

On Monday (June 21),  East Sussex County Council’s lead member for transport Clare Dowling considered a petition calling for “urgent action” on the B2116, particularly on a stretch of the road leading to its junction with Plumpton Lane. 

The petition was filed following an incident in January 2020, which saw a coach carrying students from Plumpton College overturn and crash into a nearby field. Twelve students were injured in the crash, council papers say.

According to council papers, a number of non-highway related factors were found to have contributed to the crash, but East Sussex Highways had introduced new road markings and repaired a dip in the road in June last year.

Rob Banks along with fellow Lib Dems has been calling for measures to improve road safety in Plumpton
Rob Banks along with fellow Lib Dems has been calling for measures to improve road safety in Plumpton

Speaking on behalf of petitioners, Lewes district councillor Robert Banks (Lib Dem, Plumpton and East Chiltington) said: “The measures taken in June 2020 will help but it needs to go further. 

“Luckily no lives were lost in the incident in January 2020, but we need to make sure that lives will no be put at risk in future. For example, the road at that point has no embankment built up on the side of the road where vehicles routinely go off, so I would ask for this to be a key area to be rectified.

“Consideration of a speed limit reduction for that stretch of the road may also help. The width of the road – a large vehicle operator based in Plumpton tells me – makes it difficult for larger vehicles to allow oncoming vehicles of a similar size to safely pass.”

In response to Cllr Banks, officers said the road as a whole is being considered as part of a Strategic Casualty Reduction study.

On top of this, works are due to take place at another junction of the road later this year. These, to take place at the B2116/A275 junction, will include new signage to warn drivers to give way and reduce their speed.

These measures were noted by Cllr Dowling in response to the petition.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Banks said: “It is proof that the infrastructure in our rural area is utterly unsuitable for large scale proposals such as the potential Eton College site - the transport system just wouldn’t be able to cope”.

Fellow Lib Dem Sarah Osborne, county councillor for Ouse Valley West and Downs, added: “I welcome the steps taken to ensure better safety at the junction with the A275, and while it is good to see there could be safety improvements along the Ditchling Road as a result of this petition, I look forward to hearing the detail.

“This must include building up the bank at the spot where so many vehicles have come off.”