Call for cut in speed on West Dean road

County councillors want a reduced speed limit on a stretch of road at West Dean, claimed to be one of the most hazardous in the county.

People have been campaigning for action over the road, near Chichester, since before the second world war '“ so far without success.

Now they have the backing of the county council's south Chichester county local committee, which will recommend cabinet member Cllr Derek Whittington to cut the speed limit on the A286 at West Dean from

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40 to 30mph.

County council officers were against the change, arguing 40mph was 'appropriate' for this road, and in line with council speed limit criteria.

Reduce speed

But members of the parish council, local residents and representatives of West Dean Primary School, the West Dean Estate and the Edward James Foundation attended the meeting to put the case for reducing speed.

And the committee came down unanimously in favour of the change.

Committee chairman Cllr Mike Hall, whose county council

division includes West Dean, said this was a village with an

extraordinary number of traffic movements.

Figures presented at the meeting showed annual traffic movements generated by local businesses and organisations.

They included 70,000 by West Dean Gardens, 80,000 by West Dean College, 20,000 by the Selsey Arms and 42,500 by West Dean Primary School.

40mph menace

Cllr Hall said a reduced speed limit was particularly needed because of the school, attended by 100 children.

"There are also a number of vulnerable road-users going from one side of the road to the post office on the other side," he said after the meeting. "This is completely unsafe."

County council chairman Cllr Mark Dunn, a member of the committee, said: "The commonsense case is '“ this is a school, this is a village, this is a crossroads, and if traffic is moving past at 40mph-plus it is a menace and a danger and should be stopped.

"This is why we have speed limits."

Fears for children

West Dean headteacher Gill Moss was among the speakers who pressed for the speed limit reduction at the meeting.

Many children cross the road to get to school.

She afterwards welcomed the outcome as a 'decision for commonsense and logic'.

A submission on behalf of the village highlighted the fact information from police showed one car every minute was travelling at excessive speed through West Dean.

Commonsense victory

"Although it may seem that we are pleading a special case, it is not that special," it added.

"On the A286, the villages of Lavant, Singleton, Cocking and Fernhurst all have sensible speed limits, flashing signs and appropriate and appropriate speed management.

"Not to mention villages on other A-roads in the Chichester area. All West Dean was asking for was fair and equal treatment.

"This would send a consistent message to all road-users in the Lavant Valley and be a victory for commonsense," it said.

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