Ditchling resident hit by speeding car calls for new speed limit on road

A Ditchling woman whose hand was injured by the wing mirror of a speeding car has called for a 40mph limit to be imposed on the road.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 1:29 pm
Joyce Dudeney and Councillor Cathy Mills

Joyce Dudeney had left her Spatham Lane home at about midday on Monday and was walking down the road with her dog when suddenly a car came ‘hurtling’ towards her.

“Before I knew it there was this ‘clonk’,” she said. “I was so shocked, it was going so fast.”

She realised the wing mirror of the speeding car had clipped her hand – leaving it swollen and uncomfortable.

The car had come ‘so close’, she said. “Usually they give you a wide berth, there was nothing coming in the opposite direction,”

To add insult to injury – someone in the car also threw a ketchup pot out of the window, which hit her and left a stain on her coat.

Mrs Dudeney said it was ‘most bizarre’ and ‘peculiar’.

She was able to recall that the vehicle was a silver mercedes and reported the incident to the police.

Cathy Mills, vice chairman of Westmeston Parish Council, said the incident was ‘just awful’ and both ‘frightening and painful’ for Mrs Dudeney. “The consequences could have been so much worse than they were.”

But, sadly, she said it was just ‘one of many’ incidents and near-misses to have taken place on the road due to speeding vehicles.

Spatham Lane is a ‘little country lane’ used by ‘kids trying to get to school and people trying to get out of their houses’, she said.

“It’s really very dangerous,” she said. “So many people are frightened of driving down that road because of the speeds.“

Residents and the parish council have been trying to get the speed limit on the unclassified road changed to 40mph for around 10 years now.

But Mrs Mills said Highways had informed them the work to do this would cost £35,000 – money they just do not have, despite fundraising attempts.

She said: “It’s not just for the people who live in the lane, it’s for all users.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “Reducing the speed limit of a road does involve considerable cost.

“An initial assessment indicated that the cost of a scheme in Spatham Lane would be around £35,000, which included the legal process, traffic surveys and consultation, as well as installing signs and road markings.

“We have very limited resources for road safety measures and have to focus these on areas where the need is greatest.

“This road doesn’t meet the criteria for such measures at present.

“The parish council was offered the opportunity to develop the scheme through our Community Match programme, in which the county council can provide up to 50 per cent match funding for schemes which are not a council priority, but are important to the community.

“The parish council did submit an application, but decided not to take it further.”

Sussex Police asked anyone who saw what happened to contact police online or call 101 quoting serial 1248 of 26/04.