New speed limit on killer road

Herons Ghyll speed limit reduction. Roy Galley SUS-150807-161502008
Herons Ghyll speed limit reduction. Roy Galley SUS-150807-161502008

An A-road which has been the scene of dozens of serious crashes - some of them fatal - should become safer thanks to efforts by people living in the neighbourhood.

People power has at last delivered a reduced speed limit on the A26 at Herons Ghyll south of Crowborough. But some say motorists are still driving as dangerously and they fear the accident rate and chaotic road closures will continue.

The highway was earmarked for traffic calming by East Sussex County Council in January 2014 following the outcome of speed surveys showing five serious and eight slight injury crashes reported to police in the autumn of 2013. Signs have now been put in place reducing speeds to 40mph.

But a spokeswoman for a nursing home at Herons Ghyll told the Express people do not slow down. Alison Barnes from Manor Gardens said: “We get about one serious crash a month. The blind corner makes it difficult for people turning right across the stream of traffic and oncoming cars don’t see them in time. Lots of elderly people are also dropped off by bus at the Catholic Church. Buses shouldn’t stop there but they do and make the road more dangerous. We’ve lobbied the bus company but nothing changes.”

County and Wealden member Cllr Roy Galley said: “I’m pleased the limit has been reduced. The road has been resurfaced and it’s thanks to local people that work has been done. It shows helpful campaigning works - but of course you always get the complete nutcase drivers.” Cllrs Galley and Whetstone presented a petition in February 2014 asking for the new limit to be put in place. Money for the scheme came from a Section 106 agreement connected with the redevelopment of Temple Grove School.

The most tragic smash was in November 2009 when two young Crowborough hockey players, Tony Croft (25) and Joe Grunwell (16) died en route to an away match. Their Peugeot 306 collided with a tipper lorry. Another two in the same car were badly hurt.

In October the next year the A26 was shut for the second time in 24 hours after a morning rush hour crash when a car travelling south collided with an oncoming vehicle. The woman driver had to be released from her car by firefighters. Then at 3.35pm on June 25 this year three cars collided in the same place and two people were seriously injured. The road was closed.

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