Pulborough residents call for Government action over A29 road closure

Residents in Pulborough who have faced months of chaos after the closure of a major road are now calling on the Government to take action.
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They are asking for a traffic manager to be appointed by the Department of Transport to take over running of the county highways department.

It follows three months of mayhem after the A29 was shut on December 28 following a landslide. The road has remained closed ever since leading to traffic snarl-ups, loss of business for local traders and health and safety fears for residents.

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West Sussex County Council announced yesterday (Thursday) that it would reopen one lane of the A29 ‘shortly.’ It said that concrete blocks would be used to create “a protected, single lane carriageway down the centre of the road. A contractor has been mobilised to start the work shortly with work taking approximately two weeks.”

The A29 in Pulborough has been shut for three months following a landslideThe A29 in Pulborough has been shut for three months following a landslide
The A29 in Pulborough has been shut for three months following a landslide

And a spokesperson added: "The land either side of the carriageway, which is where engineering works must take place to allow the safe reopening of the road to two-way traffic, is not adopted highway land but owned by private landowners.

“WSCC has been engaged in lengthy and detailed negotiations with the two landowners to try and reach a mutual agreement to carry out survey and other works on the land. Regrettably, these negotiations have not been successful and, following careful consideration, WSCC has issued a notice pursuant to Section 151 of the Highways Act 1980 to the landowners, requiring them to remove the debris that has fallen from their property, and which is blocking the road and to carry out works required on their land to prevent a future reoccurrence of the slippage.”

However, residents remain unhappy at the situation. Local business owner Elizabeth Hunt said: “What’s so intensely frustrating for local businesses and residents is that this three-plus-month debacle could have been avoided if statutory powers had been used sooner on this major road closure.

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"Landowners could have been notified immediately that they would be used, ideally within a week of the event, and the road repaired and re-opened. So much economic and physical devastation of our community could have been avoided.”

A petition has now been launched calling on transport secretary Mark Harper to appoint a traffic manager to take over running the county highways department.

Concerned resident Jane Mote said: “This so-called temporary solution to open the road one-way was raised over a month ago and locals had concerns which have not been listened to.

"There’s been no consultation with our community that is devastated by the three month closure of this A road that’s cut the village in half creating mayhem and driving businesses to near-collapse.

"West Sussex County Council has lost the confidence of people in Pulborough. This latest plan is unclear, poorly conceived and could create more chaos. We want and need the road to be open two-way.”