Villagers call for speed limits on two major roads

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Forest Row residents are calling for traffic calming measures in the village centre.

Parish Clerk David O’Driscoll points out that the village carries a heavy volume of traffic both north and south on the A22 and also east to west from Tunbridge Wells on the Hartfield Road heading towards Gatwick Airport.

He said: “There are two hot spots. Forest Row is in a dip. Vehicles, particularly HGVs, come quite fast through the Ashdown Forest on a de-restricted road and do not slow down in time to navigate the roundabouts in the centre of the village. Although Hartfield Road is a B-road it carries more than its fair share of traffic and is also home to the primary school, community centre, village green and a playground. There’s no point hoping traffic volume will reduce so the only way to make the roads safer is to encourage people to slow down.”

He pointed out although a community Speedwatch scheme was introduced, volunteer operators fell away and those who remained were discouraged by lack of support.

Mr O’Driscoll went on: “Some villages have managed to get speed limits reduced to 20 mph. An example is Maresfield but that is not on an A-listed trunk road and there are a couple of dangerous bends in the centre.”

An online petition introduced in mid-December asking for speed reductions on the A22 and also traffic calming measures on the Hartfield Road is being enthusiastically supported by local people.

Mr O’Driscoll went on: “We have a liaison meeting with East Sussex County Council’s highways department every three months and the next one is on January 11. I will certainly raise the issue of speed limits with them.”

A County spokesman said: “We are not aware of a significant safety problem here and the very few collisions that have been recorded were not been speed-related. This means although we can consider 20mph zones in urban areas this location is not a high priority and we have no plans to reduce the limit at present. We have very limited funding for road safety and are having to make significant budget cuts so it’s important we direct our funds to schemes which will produce the greatest benefits to local communities.”

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