Large demo in Burgess Hill opposes roadworks which led to gridlock over Christmas and New Year - in pictures

Burgess Hill residents turned out in their droves to protest against recent works to change the road layout leading into the town centre.

The mini-roundabout at the junction of Station Road, Mill Road and Church Road has been removed and various other works have been carried out between there and in the direction of the railway station.

The works are part of the West Sussex County Council-led Places and Connectivity Programme, which it says aims to improve safety and support cycling and walking into the town centre.

However the works caused massive gridlock during the Christmas and New Year period, with many motorists, business owners and residents venting their displeasure.

The latest manifestation of this opposition to the changes was a well-attended demonstration on Saturday (March 4) organised by the founders of ‘Save our Town’ and the Facebook group ‘Reinstate the roundabout’.

After a few words from Gordon Parr and Ray Woods, who then led the procession with his drum, they marched the length of the new shared pathway to highlight what campaigners describe as ‘shoddy workmanship’ and ‘ludicrosity’ of the scheme. They also claim the scheme was imposed on the town without proper consultation or planning.

The march paused at the ‘badly conceived’ new traffic lights where Mr Woods laid flowers in memory of the roundabout. The march then processed up to Hoadleys roundabout with many motorists hooting in support. At the top of the town, such was the strength of feeling the marchers, many with banners, turned and marched back down through the town with local businesses waving and clapping in support.

A spokesman for the march’s organisers said: “This scheme has led to severe traffic congestion across the town and made it difficult to visit struggling local businesses in Station Road and surrounding roads.

"The new layout is especially difficult for disabled and elderly motorists who either cannot park or are forced to use new bays hundreds of yards from the businesses. Traffic congestion has been exacerbated by the removal of the very functional roundabout which had worked perfectly well since its introduction in the early 1980s. People were also incensed by the waste of £4.7 million on the scheme when potholes riddle the streets and shops remain empty in an already dying and underfunded town centre.

“Residents and businesses owners want to know who signed off this destruction of the town and, more importantly, who can put it right? The people of Burgess Hill have made it clear that they will not take this laying down."

A spokesman for WSCC said: West Sussex County Council and Mid Sussex District Council are aware of a demonstration march that was held on Saturday 4 March in Burgess Hill. We understand that the key driver for the march was the ongoing regeneration works in the area and the frustration felt about this by those who attended the march.

“The ongoing works in Burgess Hill are part of a wider £21m investment in sustainable transport infrastructure and improvements throughout the area, including the recent delivery of 14km of new and improved pedestrian and cycle routes throughout the town. The project, which benefits vulnerable road users including pedestrians, cyclists and the mobility impaired, is funded through investment from the Local Enterprise Partnership, which was awarded to deliver a sustainable transport network to support the planned growth in Burgess Hill.

“The scheme is a live project with areas still under construction. Whilst construction continues there will be some delays and we are doing all we can to keep these to a minimum but understand and have listened to the concerns of residents. In relation to the concerns around the quality of some of the finishes, we would point out that these areas are either not yet complete, with the final finish yet to be applied, or with snagging still to be completed. We kindly ask for residents’ patience whilst we complete the project which we believe will bring many benefits to the area.

“A full list of the impacted areas detailed on our web pages, including the required traffic management to ensure safety is maintained can be found at”