Southover pledges pop-up demos to reinforce 20mph

One of the unofficial speed limit signs in Southover
One of the unofficial speed limit signs in Southover

Lewes residents were shocked to get an emphatic ‘no’ from East Sussex County Council after asking for more 20mph speed restriction signs.

Kevin Moore, chair of Lewes Living Streets, said: “When Southover residents presented a petition calling for more 20mph signs, we got the ‘bum’s rush’ from lead members who said there was ‘no problem with speeding traffic’.

“The council ordered the removal of signs we’d put on bollards and lampposts in case they caused a problem prosecuting speeding drivers.”

David Williams, of Priory Stree,t explained: “Almost every resident we contacted signed the petition to reduce traffic speed and noise and particularly for 20mph signs on tarmac to clarify this is a 20mph road. We were supported by head teachers from Western, Priory and Southover Schools, but all that counted for nothing.

“We’re told there were no accidents but this is about our quality of life.”

Priory/Southover was the first 20mph zone in Lewes with cobbles and raised platforms to slow traffic. But Mr Moore said the county council reduced the platform height to cobbled strips.

Mr Williams emphasised they don’t slow motorists although “they shake cyclists’ bones!”

Residents pledge to continue pop-up demos during busy spells to reinforce the 20mph message.

A spokesman for East Sussex County Council said it understands concerns but resources are limited and must be targeted to where there are proven road safety issues, citing no recorded traffic casualties in three years.

They said: “The most recent traffic survey shows the traffic calming scheme is working and most stick to the 20mph limit.

“Speed limit legislation permits either traffic calming or upright signs - but not both - so the council cannot put signs up here. Lewes District Council does not support signs on the tarmac. Putting up home-made 20mph signs, while done with the best of intentions, risks invalidating the speed limit.”