Easebourne and Elsted residents delighted by speed cut

Two communities in the Midhurst area have expressed their delight after being told their campaigns for speed reductions through their villages have been successful.

In Easebourne, the existing 40mph limit along Dodsley Lane will be reduced to 30mph within the next month or so, while in Elsted Marsh the current 60mph limit along Elsted Road will be reduced to 40mph. Residents says the reductions will improve people’s safety and quality of life.

Both campaigns received the strong backing of councillors on the North Chichester County Local Committee (CLC) which gave the go ahead for the changes to be prioritised as part of West Sussex County Council’s traffic regulation orders (TROs).

Two years ago WSCC said not enough was being done to address the concerns of residents in villages and changed its speed limits policy to give CLCs more scope to recommend lower limits

The chairman of Easebourne Parish Council Ian Heustice said he was pleased with the change and that residents were very thankful to the committee for its help, but said he was surprised at the lack of police support.

“I find it very surprising that they are saying the reduction of the speed limit would potentially increase the number of complaints about non-compliance I think that really proves why people wish for the speed to be reduced.”

Sussex Police said it acknowledged the community’s concerns regarding road safety and vehicle speeds but said because of the nature of road, it believed drivers would fail to realise the speed was 30mph and habitually drive at a higher speed.

In its comments to the council Sussex Police said: “Compliance with the new speed limit is desirable in order for there to be any safety benefits and outcomes. If that is not the case, it is likely pedestrians and other vulnerable road users may be at greater risk because they will have the expectation that traffic will be travelling at 30mph or less and so may unwittingly endanger themselves by misreading the speed of vehicles when crossing the road.”

But members of the public who attended Tuesday’s meeting pleaded for enforcement.

It is expected that the new signs will be installed within the next month or so. The Chairman of Elsted and Treyford Parish Council, Andrew Leno, was equally pleased with the decision for Elsted Marsh.

“Residents have been very supportive of the reduction,” he said.

“I have felt the council was working against us. Now I feel they are working for us and that is the purpose of democracy.”

At the meeting communities were encouraged to use other tools such as community speedwatch schemes and report bad driving via Sussex Police’s Operation Crackdown campaign.

Cllr Michael Brown, who chaired the meeting also urged people to make their wishes known during the election for the first ever police and crime commissioner for Sussex.