More than 500 concerned residents in Lewes have petitioned East Sussex County Council for a crossing in Southover. The local authority has so far failed to respond.
There are two primary schools and nurseries along the narrow but busy stretch of Southover High Street but no safe crossing
point. The area is also home to a secondary school, two sports centres, local football and cricket fields, an English Heritage ancient monument, a community football ground and church community buildings.
“It’s not only the school run here – it’s about the community being disconnected and severed by a road without a single official crossing point,” said petitioner Jo Crowther.
Pedestrians are forced to take their chances in rush hour, with children and elderly people being the most at risk. Adding to the hazards in Southover are parked cars and lorries mounting the kerb.
Richard Streeter, one of the petitioners, said: “This medieval street wasn’t designed to take huge lorries, nor this weight of traffic. The situation is untenable now and only going to get worse. The council must take some strategic decisions now about making pedestrians safer and restricting traffic.”
Southover parent Fiona Salter said: “Collecting signatures for the petition I heard so many accounts of unreported collisions and near misses.”
“Every morning I see many parents and children making a dash for it between parked cars. It seems inconceivable that the county council has not considered a crossing given the high number of vulnerable pedestrians in this area. It’s not a question of if someone will be hit by a car, it’s when. And most likely the victim will be a child.”
Liz Webb, Secretary of the Friends of Southover School PTA, said: “The council’s ‘Footsteps’ road safety programme is meant to teach schoolchildren how to use crossings and where to cross safely, and yet on the streets around the school they cannot put it into practice.”