Road safety campaigners welcome gypsy decision at Bury

ROAD safety campaigners have welcomed a decision by the South Downs National Park Authority to refuse permission for a permanent gypsy and traveller site close to Bury.

The proposal was submitted to the national park by gypsy father and son James and Jake Stanley who wanted to change the use of agricultural land at the junction of the A29 and the B2138 on the outskirts of Watersfield.

There was a flood of objections from villagers in the area and Bury Parish Council also lodged its own objection and the application was turned down on several grounds including road safety objections.

West Sussex County Council’s highways officers lodged an objection on the grounds of ‘vehicular, pedestrian and cyclist safety’.

They also pointed out that the land was at the centre of a potential highway improvement scheme featuring a new roundabout.

Jean Durant speaking for the Watersfield, Bury Gate, and Pulborough District Road Safety Action Campaign Group, said the site of the proposed gypsy camp was an accident black spot for traffic and if the gypsy site plan had been approved it would have further increased the danger.

“Recognition of the poor road safety here by West Sussex County Council highways and the need for major road improvements goes back 25 years when they proposed a new roundabout scheme for Bury Gate.

One neighbour, she said lived in everyday fear of vehicles crashing through onto his property.

“So much so a crash barrier has been installed at the front of his home following numerous accidents. Three vehicles in the last two years have crashed into his property and before this one vehicle crashed through the gates and hit the house, causing structural damage,”

She told the Observer: “Recognition of the poor road safety here by West Sussex County Council highways and the need for major road improvements goes back 25 years when they proposed a new roundabout scheme for Bury Gate.

Plans for a new roundabout scheme on this parcel of land had been approved and were waiting for detailed designs.

“Residents will now be pressing highways, following this planning refusal, to enter into negotiations with the owners of this land with a view to its purchase, it cannot be lost to development and we can as soon as possible have a very much needed new roundabout here.”