South Downs: Fears over safety for visitors due to 'exceptionally dangerous' road outside Arundel

Safety concerns have been raised over an 'exceptionally dangerous' road outside Arundel.

The 'deteriorating condition' of Burpham Road is causing 'grave concern' among locals and 'the many visitors' to the South Downs National Park.

Up to 100 residents of Burpham, Wepham and Warningcamp gathered on Saturday morning (March 26), before marching to The George pub to share details of 'near collisions and blowouts' as well as cyclists 'being driven off the road' as cars swerved to avoid potholes on blind corners.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

As part of a wider call for improved road safety across the county, and supported by West Sussex Highways, the group discussed the 'poor road condition' where an 'ever-narrowing road' with blind bends and a 60-mph speed limit, combined with edge erosion, potholes and cracks created a 'serious potential accident hotspot'.

Up to 100 residents of Burpham, Wepham and Warningcamp gathered on Saturday morning (March 26), before marching to The George pub to share details of 'near collisions and blowouts' as well as cyclists 'being driven off the road' as cars swerved to avoid potholes on blind corners. Photo: Eddie Mitchell

Andrew Griffith, MP for Arundel and South Downs showed his support by visiting the 'black spot' on Friday.

He said: "I can clearly see why there is cause for concern. The Burpham Road is in poor condition and needs treating.

"During my visit I witnessed drivers travelling at speed down the centre of the road to avoid potholes, and this is a worry with the blind bends.

“I will be contacting the West Sussex County Council on behalf of the residents to ask what can be done. The council are investing an extra £21 million over the next five years because they recognise that the conditions of our roads is a priority for improvement and investment.”

Burpham Road has been described as an 'increasingly busy road', providing the only access from the A27 to the villages of Burpham, Wepham and Warningcamp. Photo: Eddie Mitchell

Arundel and Courtwick county councillor Gary Markwell attended Saturday’s event.

He said: “I was pleased to meet with local residents to discuss their concerns about the condition of the Burpham Road.

"The road is a real concern not only for car users, but also for cyclists and those who use the road for walking in the beautiful villages and many residents raised serious safety concerns caused by the deteriorating road surface and the speed of the vehicles using the road on a daily basis.

"I am very happy to raise these concerns at County Hall to ensure appropriate action is taken to address any safety concerns that are identified."

The 'deteriorating condition' of Burpham Road is causing 'grave concern' among locals and 'the many visitors' to the South Downs National Park. Photo: Eddie Mitchell

Burpham’s Vicar Reverend Celia Woodruff said she was 'concerned for the safety' of residents and' for the many visitors who come to the area for their health and wellbeing'.

She added: "The Burpham road is the only way to access this beautiful corner of the South Downs and urgently needs attention."

Local resident Heather Birch, who has lived in the area for more than 30 years, said she has seen road usage 'increase tenfold' in that time.

"Filling the odd pothole with loose gravel is not the answer; we urgently need resurfacing and full road repairs," she said.

Andrew Griffith, MP for Arundel and South Downs showed his support by visiting the 'black spot' on Friday.

Burpham Road has been described as an 'increasingly busy road', providing the only access from the A27 to the villages of Burpham, Wepham and Warningcamp.

A spokesperson for the Burpham Road Safety Committee said: "The road is in accelerating disrepair with its central white line only faintly visible, new potholes appearing monthly and the road edges crumbling due to weight of traffic. At the same time the road carries an increasing number of vehicles every year.

"Road users include mixed traffic, hikers and cyclists with a vehicle count in the region of 1,000 vehicles a day.

"The traffic is made up of residents, regular HGV deliveries to Southern Water in Coombe Lane, a daily HGV milk tanker, heavy agricultural traffic to the Norfolk Estate and Farms, deliveries and visitors to The George pub, parishioners and visitors to the 11th century St Mary’s Church and a growing number of visitors to the South Downs National Park, being a popular route into the park for walkers and cyclists."

Residents have reported that a cyclist was nearly hit by a car that was on the wrong part of the road, due to potholes and disrepair.

One unnamed local said: "An increasing number of potholes and collapsing road edges in various places are now causing drivers to swerve to avoid damaging their vehicles.

Arundel and Courtwick county councillor Gary Markwell attended Saturday’s event.

"In places where once two cars could pass one another, only a single carriageway seems to exist.

"Needless to say this is exceptionally dangerous and on more than one occasion I have seen cars driven off the road by oncoming vehicles."

Councillor Markwell said he was 'very happy' to raise residents' concerns at County Hall 'to ensure appropriate action'
The group discussed the 'poor road condition' where an 'ever-narrowing road' with blind bends and a 60-mph speed limit, combined with edge erosion, potholes and cracks created a 'serious potential accident hotspot'.