Horsham district road upgrades ‘are a safety disaster waiting to happen’

Controversial new plans are being drawn up to upgrade major roads around the Horsham district.

Proposals have been put forward by The Department for Transport to create a Major Road Network across the whole of the country, consisting of several main roads in Sussex.

Andy Tilbrook at Church Hill in Pulborough

Andy Tilbrook at Church Hill in Pulborough

The plans will see routes connecting to the A27 such as the A24 from Warnham, the A29 from Billingshurst and the A264 from Broadbridge Heath upgraded, opening them up to extra funding from the Government’s National Roads Fund.

West Sussex County Council, which is in consultation with The Department for Transport, said the Major Road Network was being created in a bid to reduce congestion and support economic growth by raising the standard of roads.

However issues have been raised that the change in status will see an increase in traffic, including heavy goods and delivery vehicles.

Andy Tilbrook, chairman of the planning and services committee at Pulborough Parish Council, raised his personal concerns over the inclusion of the A29, particularly the stretch at Church Hill.

He said: “This is a road which has been dangerous for years. Two large vehicles can not pass each other safely on the hill because it is too narrow. It would not be classified as an A road today yet we are in the situation where West Sussex County Council’s Department for Transport are proposing to make this road part of a major road network which will increase the number significantly of very very large vehicles.

“It would not be classified as an A road today yet we are in the situation where West Sussex County Council’s Department for Transport are proposing to make this road part of a Major Road Network which will increase the number significantly of very large vehicles.

“This is a safety disaster waiting to happen.”

West Sussex County Council claimed the change in status would ‘provide access to a new stream of funding for improvements’.

A spokesman said: “In December, 2017, the Department for Transport (DfT) consulted on a proposal to create a Major Road Network (MRN) in England comprised of local roads that are important because they are well used. The County Council submitted a response to the DfT consultation and the Government is expected to publish its final proposals in autumn 2018.

“Roads on the MRN will continue to be part of the local road network. We expect that decisions about improving roads on the MRN or changes to the way they are managed will continue to be taken by the County Council.

“We are aware that there are concerns about the safety of the A29. Changing the status of the road to MRN will provide access to a new stream of funding for improvements, but there are currently no proposals to upgrade the A29 in the Pulborough area.

“If any improvements or changes to route management are proposed in the future, then the County Council would consult local stakeholders, including the Parish Council, at that time.”