Eastbourne residents call on county council to make road safe

Eastbourne residents are anxiously awaiting a verdict from East Sussex County Council on whether to put in place traffic-calming measures on a busy road near a school and play area.

Alan Shuttleworth with Evelyn Winter by busy Sevenoaks Road
Alan Shuttleworth with Evelyn Winter by busy Sevenoaks Road

The community-led campaign aims to make Sevenoaks Road, Langney, more safe by adding a zebra crossing to the recreation ground and West Langney nature area.

Concerned about speeding vehicles, residents have brought their case to be considered by a county council panel meeting on February 20 before finally being determined at a County Lead Member for Transport and Environment meeting in March.

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Resident Evelyn Winter said, “Speeding is a real problem in this road. I know many people live in a state of constant anxiety, especially after a speeding car crashed into a house in Sevenoaks Road.”

Langney councillor Alan Shuttleworth has led the campaign group, which includes West Rise Infants and Junior School, Eastbourne Borough Council Neighbourhood Team, local councillors, Eastbourne Homes, Eastbourne Access Group and local residents.

Cllr Shuttleworth said, “Our partnership group has held several meetings with county council road safety officers, police, community Safety and local community representatives, before we submitted a bid for Community Match Funding to East Sussex County Council Highways.

“Local people face daily problems of vehicles speeding along Sevenoaks Road, using it as a short cut.

“Pupils from West Rise Junior School are constantly crossing the road to undertake environmental work as part of their school studies.

“There has been a long wait for the matter to come before a county council committee.

“Local residents, councillors and the schools community all agree that it is time to support this bid and bring on some improvements to make the road safer.

“We want to change the character of the road to slow down the traffic and make it calmer for local residents and for people who need to cross.

“If we get an approval we will move to a full consultation with the wider community to agree the detail of the scheme.”

Sally Scott, a local resident, said, “I have a disability which severely restricts my mobility and because of this I use a mobility scooter.

“I am lucky enough to have a disability assistance dog called Nero.

“Because of the speed that some of the cars travel at along Sevenoaks Road, a crossing would greatly benefit myself and my dog, as well as many other dog walkers and children who use the park.”

The match funding bid is supported by Eastbourne Borough Council, which has pledged money towards the cause from the members’ Devolved Budget Scheme.

Council Leader David Tutt said, “The borough council is keen to support the project which will not only help to slow traffic, but will also begin to open up the beautiful natural area for the whole community.”

Local Heritage Manager Jo Seaman added, “For a number of years Heritage Eastbourne has undertaken a considerable amount of work in conjunction with West Rise Junior School to develop the use of the West Langney levels as an educational, community, ecological and heritage resource.

“Recently we have been looking at how we can open up access to this area of natural beauty for the wider community and for further work with the schools by creating a nature reserve.”

The bid identifies features such as a zebra crossing to the park area, additional road markings, and signage including a speed indicator sign, a school safety zone, consideration of 20mph, and improvements for pedestrians around bus stops.