Call for road safety action near Fernhurst

ROAD safety officials have been urged to take action on a dangerous stretch of road near Fernhurst before there is another fatality.

The Cooksbridge corner, just south of the village, was the scene of another accident on New Year’s Day, and has long been a source of worry for residents.

The A286 at this point is subject to a 50mph limit but there has still been a high number of crashes.

Noel Tonkin, with support from his neighbours, pointed this out more than a year ago to the Fernhurst Parish Council and the highways department of West Sussex County Council, but so far nothing has been done and accidents have continued.

Mr Tonkin has recently written to the chief executive of West Sussex County Council Kieran Stigant specifically noting the increase in the number of accidents since the 50mph speed limit was introduced, and urging action be taken before there is a fatality.

Previous accidents have included a load of bottles being shed across the road, a horse and rider on the pavement narrowly escaping death after being side-swiped by a lorry without the driver noticing, and a van driving into the river and killing the driver.

Before the 50mph sign was introduced, only a short distance before the corner, drivers had to judge the speed for themselves.

A chevron sign was previously in position, now increased to three over a space of 50 yards, but these have been damaged.

Since the 50mph signs were installed Cooksbridge House wall has been driven into four times, the worst crash last May demolished a seven-metre section.

The police attending the scene said the driver was lucky not to be killed.

Campaigners said the only county council response so far has been to remove one of the 50mph repeater signs which has done little to solve the problem.

The current 50mph sign is followed promptly by ‘slow’ signs on the road and on sign posts which motorists said has led to confusion.

There has also been a large financial cost resulting from the corner, as police, ambulances, and recovery vehicles have attended the numerous crashes.

Those concerned said that for the cost of less than one of these incidents, a few signs could be moved, to extend the 40mph limit beyond the corners to south of the Handsome Pig pub, and thereby reducing the risk substantially.