‘Shock’ as speed limit reduction plan vetoed

Proposed speed limit change between Broadbridge Heath and Warnham from national limit down to 40mph. Pic Steve Robards  SR1607951 SUS-160803-141802001
Proposed speed limit change between Broadbridge Heath and Warnham from national limit down to 40mph. Pic Steve Robards SR1607951 SUS-160803-141802001

Plans to reduce the speed limit between Broadbridge Heath and Warnham have been vetoed by a county council cabinet member.

A new 40mph limit was agreed back in March on the Broadbridge Heath Road and Bailing Hill by West Sussex County Council’s North Horsham County Local Committee.

This was despite it not meeting the authority’s speed limit policy, but was part of a package of traffic calming measures to mitigate the impact of nearly 1,000 new homes being built at Wickhurst Green.

However the cabinet member for highways and transport has blocked the new speed limit as the proposed changes do not comply with WSCC’s Traffic Regulation Order application process.

At last Monday’s CLC meeting, David Sheldon (Ind, Horsham Tanbridge and Broadbridge Heath) said: “It’s a nonsense that we considered this, we have discussed it, we have agreed to it and we are told it’s not in our policy and it does not comply with the current process.”

Liz Kitchen (Con, Warnham and Rusper) added: “For all of us who know this piece of road, it’s a very very dangerous piece of road.

“I accept what you say about just sticking up road signs but I do not think we should be governed by this.”

A Warnham Parish Council representative described the decision as a ‘shock and a great disappointment’ and explained that there was still 600 metres of unrestricted road between the two villages.

When the new speed limit was agreed in March, officers explained that the CLC would have to ask the cabinet member to make an exception to policy.

This is because the average speeds in Bailing Hill are 43.5mph northbound and 43.2mph southbound.

Usually average speeds have to fall below 42mph to consider introducing a 40mph speed limit, but the CLC agreed to recommend an exception be made, due to the fact that the rest of the package of traffic calming measures would help bring the speeds down.

In his written response cabinet member John O’Brien said: “I can only assume that during the writing of this report there was a misunderstanding of the new process and I am sorry for any confusion that has arisen because of this.

“Two separate traffic management schemes are to be installed within the Warnham Lanes area as part of a package of works now being funded from the West Horsham Strategic Development fund which will have an effect on traffic speeds and volumes within the area.”

He explained that the county council may re-monitor the speed limit once the two new traffic management schemes have been completed.

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