East Street: an accident waiting to happen?

Vehicle congestion on East Street after re-development - photo by Steve Cobb

Vehicle congestion on East Street after re-development - photo by Steve Cobb

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ALTHOUGH there have been many benefits to the redevelopment of Horsham’s East Street, shop owners this week voiced safety concerns warning that someone could be killed unless pedestrianisation issues are resolved.

The street has become home to a number of leading restaurants and the facelift featured pedstrianisation with a new surface, benches and planters.

The £400,000 project was funded by Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council, following a year long pedestrianisation trial of the street in 2008-09.

Since the street reopened in October 2010, businesses have enjoyed a substantial rise in footfall and custom.

But the changes have led to confusion, as the unusual nature of the pedestrianisation still allows traffic to pass through it.

Antonio Cipollaro, manager of Cote restaurant, said: “The system that the council has in place is just not clear.

“Although I have a designated eating area on the street, it’s not going to work if huge lorries are squeezing past chucking out diesel. It’s definitely dangerous out there, at the moment it’s impossible to have customers outside.”

The council said in a statement on its website that once opened, traffic would be ‘banned from East Street and Market Square 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the exception of loading/delivery vehicles and Blue Badge holders’.

However, the rising number of restaurants has led to an increase in delivery lorries, while a lack of clarification means that residents are using the street as a short cut into town.

John Cox, of Trelfers Jewellers, had his shop sign ripped off by a passing lorry three days after the new-look street reopened. He said: “There’s no clarity, no line, no enforcement.

“The traffic passing through here needs to be regulated. There’s no communication between the council and its traffic wardens, and until strict enforcement is in place, we cannot appraise if it’s working or not.”

To read the reactions from more shop owners buy a copy of this week’s County Times.

Is East Street dangerous? If you have a view about it leave your comments below or email ct.letters@sussexnewspapers.co.uk