Villagers warn cost of A29 closure in Pulborough 'running over £1million'
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And, they say, people’s health is suffering because of stress and road safety fears.
Parents, children, the village vicar, parish councillors and other residents gathered outside St Mary’s church yesterday (Sunday) to do the sums on the true cost of the 12-week A29 closure. The road has been shut since December 28 because of a landslip.
Some residents now report being pushed to tears with stress, others say they are ‘dicing with death’ just crossing roads with unsuitable traffic.
Resident Elaine Allerton has been calculating the costs to the community. “The sums don't look good," she said. “As well as hundreds of thousands of pounds lost to local businesses, I have done detailed calculations showing that residents are facing £1,000s in bills for tyres damaged by potholes caused by diversions with thousands more being spent on petrol to get around the closure.
"In addition, everyone is wasting time sitting in traffic queues. Add to that the cost to the environment of the carbon emissions and we are looking at Pulborough residents and businesses losing over a million with that figure growing.”
Resident Kevin Lee said: “My car tyres have been ruined on potholes caused by the diversions and my alloys are chipped so that’s going to cost me as well.
"But really, it’s the inconvenience and the cost to local businesses who are suffering that concerns me. The council is doing nothing. It's pathetic. They’ve had three months to respond, and communication has been non-existent. We need to get this situation resolved as soon as possible.”
Valerie Henden, who lives on what used to be a quiet lane, said: “All my windows face the road and I don't get any peace whatsoever. I really have had enough. I am almost having a nervous breakdown; I get in tears at time because of it. I think it ought to be fixed now, not in months and months’ time but now.”
Barbara Caldecourt added: “Three public footpaths come out on Rectory Lane, children use it for school, mums use it pushing their children in prams, and it’s appalling, you're just waiting for something to happen as cars are ducking and diving in and out. When we come out of our house to walk our dog we are dicing with death to cross the road, it's just dreadful.”
Elizabeth Hunt, administrator of Pulborough Traders Association, says the A29 should have been “closed for days rather than months. The effect on local businesses has been devastating, worse than the Covid lockdowns in some respects, as there is no bailout for businesses losing thousands with no end in sight.”
West Sussex County Councillor for Pulborough Charlotte Kenyan addressed Pulborough Parish Council last week (Thursday) and said West Sussex County Council was still in ‘sensitive’ talks with landowners along the route.
The council has been approached for further comment on the situation.