Residents hit out at road chiefs for 'shambolic' handling of A29 closure in Pulborough

Hundreds of people packed Pulborough village hall last night (Monday) to question West Sussex County Council leaders over the ‘shambolic’ handling of a road closure.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The A29 London road was shut in December after a landslide left mud and debris strewn across the carriageway – and has remained shut ever since – leading to traffic chaos, safety fears and a drop in business for local traders.

Residents with protest placards converged at the village hall. Many expressed frustration over the length of time the road had been closed and were left aghast when told that work would be carried out in phases with a long-term solution implemented by Christmas – a year after the road was first shut.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Many also spoke out about diversion signs being ‘in the wrong place’ leading to traffic mayhem.

Hundreds of residents turned up for a meeting in Pulborough protesting at the length of time the A29 has been shut in the village following a landslideHundreds of residents turned up for a meeting in Pulborough protesting at the length of time the A29 has been shut in the village following a landslide
Hundreds of residents turned up for a meeting in Pulborough protesting at the length of time the A29 has been shut in the village following a landslide

Local mum-of-three Sarah Elizabeth Palmer said: “So much more could have been done sooner and the mismanagement of signs, diversions and communication is shambolic.”

Some of the answers about the signage and lack of speedy action triggered derision from the public, many of whom were upset with the answers.

One resident who lives on the corner of the main local unofficial cut through said: “Juggernauts come round the corner and I fear for the safety of road users. Why aren’t you putting out proper signage. I am stressed out of my life seeing what is going on.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Others raised concerns about increasing numbers of potholes, safety of children at the village school who faced increased traffic and health fears because of increased pollution due to additional traffic. Business owners spoke of their fears for the future of their businesses because of a large drop in trade.

Around 400 people attended a meeting in Pulborough to hear a timetable for reopening the A29 which has been shut for two months following a landslideAround 400 people attended a meeting in Pulborough to hear a timetable for reopening the A29 which has been shut for two months following a landslide
Around 400 people attended a meeting in Pulborough to hear a timetable for reopening the A29 which has been shut for two months following a landslide

Resident and Labour branch secretary Jane Mote said: “There was no accountability at the meeting from the county councillor on the highways and transport committee for mistakes that have been made or the lack of action on fixing the road or improving signage.

"It isn’t clear why the council hasn’t been able to open the A29 partially to help residents and businesses whilst negotiations with the landowners continue. I hope that the strength of feeling with this unprecedented turnout at a public meeting will lead to some quick re-thinking.”

So many people turned up to attend the meeting – estimated at around 400 – that a second meeting had to be held to accommodate everyone.

Feelings are running high in Pulborough over the length of time the A29 has been shut following a landslide in December.Feelings are running high in Pulborough over the length of time the A29 has been shut following a landslide in December.
Feelings are running high in Pulborough over the length of time the A29 has been shut following a landslide in December.
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

County highways officer Matt Davey had outlined phases of work taking place to enable the road to be reopened. He said that they were close to reaching agreement with

two landowners whose land has been affected by the landslide. They would be able to complete work on Phase 1 to get the road reopened within two weeks of that agreement being reached.

He said if agreement was not reached within a week they would look at other measures. The steep banks on the road would need to be stepped and the footpath would

be taken up by underpinning concrete blocks in order to get the road open in the short term.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Phase 2, he said, would see them undertaking geological surveys and a more long term solution would be implemented before Christmas after consultation with the public about a further 2-3 week road closure.