Petitions call for crackdown on the C7 in Lewes


TWO petitions are calling for improved safety on the C7 road as it leaves Lewes travelling south.

One seeks to ban Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) – except loading/unloading – by size and weight, while the other requests reduced speed limits from Bell Lane mini-roundabout southwards.

The petitions cover the route from the Prison Crossroads in Lewes, along Kingston Road to Swanborough Hollow.

The scenic route following the western side of the Ouse valley is blighted by high volumes of (often) speeding traffic, especially in the morning and evening rush hours. A further problem is that HGVs are permitted at all times and in all circumstances on the northern section from Lewes Prison to Wellgreen Lane junction whether or not they need local access for loading/unloading. This is a historic anomaly which campaigners are seeking to correct.

Local resident Liz Waters said: “It can be hair-raising to live on this route. There have been 20 crashes in the last 10 years which have involved casualties, including one fatality, as well as a significant number more which involved damage to vehicles or property.

“Large and heavy vehicles have a particular problem navigating the mini roundabout at the Bell lane/Southover High Street junction where they have to mount the pavements causing considerable danger to drivers and pedestrians alike. They simply can’t manoeuvre around the bends.

“They also fill the road as they drive through the narrow bottleneck in Southover High Street, although the pavement disappears on one side and pedestrians have to walk on the kerb here. This part of the route runs through Lewes Conservation Area.”

She took a photograph which graphically illustrates the problem – an articulated lorry attempting the impossible at Bell Lane Roundabout. The unfortunate driver was following the C7 from the Prison Crossroads towards Kingston Road and took a wrong turning. He attempted to turn left into Southover High Street and ended up mounting the pavement at his front and pinned to scaffolding at his rear and had to be sawn free.

Mrs Waters said that if he hadn’t reacted very quickly he would have brought down the scaffolding, two men working above and tons of tiles would have cascaded onto the pavements.

Both petitions close on Thursday, July 19, and will be presented to the Chairman of East Sussex County Council before the next full council meeting the following day. You can add your name by searching online for east sussex petitions/live, or sign a paper petition to be found at The Swan, Southover High Street, or St Pancras Stores, St Pancras Road.