‘Dreadful’ Balcombe junction scrutinised after crash

Drivers in Balcombe are reported to be confused at the junction on Haywards Heath Road. Photo Liz Pearce.  LP091014BJ07 SUS-140910-145227008
Drivers in Balcombe are reported to be confused at the junction on Haywards Heath Road. Photo Liz Pearce. LP091014BJ07 SUS-140910-145227008

A campaign to save vulnerable pedestrians, cyclists and motorists in Balcombe has been launched after a motorcyclist broke their collar bone in an accident last week.

Drivers are required to stop at the junction on Haywards Heath Road in the centre of Balcombe, joining Bramble Hill, but residents claim cars often drive straight through.

Last Tuesday a 26-year-old motorcyclist from Banbury, Oxfordshire, suffered a broken collar bone at the junction.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said emergency services were called to a report of a collision between a Porsche car and a Yamaha motorbike in Haywards Heath Road, Balcombe, on Tuesday.

The motorcyclist from Banbury was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton. The car driver, a 48-year-old woman from Haywards Heath, was uninjured.

Facebook group Please Stop At Balcombe Junction was set up in the wake of the accident.

The founder explained: “There has been an accident today at Balcombe where a cyclist has gone under a car. Please help us to reduce the risk of accidents here.

“We need to raise awareness that people have to stop at Balcombe junction.

“It is dangerous, too many accidents, we need stop signs or a roundabout in place.”

Residents claim cars barely slow let alone stop, assuming they have right of way when in fact they don’t.

A nearby shopkeeper said: “It’s dreadful. You have to give way to the left and people don’t realise that.

“They keep trying to sort it. Nobody has been injured or killed yet, and that’s what it’s going to take for them to do something about it. We’re just told be careful. Lorries come screaming through Balcombe using Sat Nav, aiming from A to B.

“People complain the speed is 30mph for a mile travelling through the village because it will make them 30 seconds later for work. They have to reduce speed from 45 to 30, but it’s totally disregarded.”

Beatrice Lewers said: “I work at the Half Moon and always see how fast people drive through the village and don’t give way at the junction.

“There are loads of children and people constantly crossing the road and people must slow down otherwise accidents are going to continue to happen.”

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “There were calls for a ‘Stop’ sign a little while back, however the location did not meet the stringent requirements for their use as set out in the Traffic Signs Manual.

“Approval in writing by the Secretary of State is required before they can be installed, this was sought a couple of years ago, but because the criteria were not satisfied, it was not granted.”

Managers at The Half Moon Inn, which is on the junction on Haywards Heath Road, have started a petition highlighting the dangers at the junction.