WARNHAM villagers are battling to make a ‘dangerous’ stretch of A24 safer following Easter Sunday’s collision which left one woman dead and a toddler fighting for her life.
Kathy Wiffen, spearheading the campaign, said residents ‘take their lives into their own hands’ when travelling by car and by foot in the village.
A quiet family Sunday April 8 was shattered for people living on the road when two cars collided and ploughed through a fence and into the garden of Kellie Oldfield - a young mother who has had to cope with a catalogue of disasters over the years.
Emergency services scrambled to the accident and closed the road off for more than five hours - a scene all too familiar for Warnham residents. The latest A24 crash occurred just yards away from the scene where a teenage footballer from Horsham was airlifted to hospital following a collision in early December last year.
Between 2005 and 2010, there have been a total of 22 recorded accidents on a 0.7 mile stretch of road from the Great Daux Roundabout to the A24 Knob Hill junction. These included three serious accidents and one fatal - according to figures sourced from traffic incident website CrashMap.
Kathy, who is now urging people to sign her petition, found online here , asked the County Times: “How many more accidents will happen until the council do something to this nightmare hotspot area?
“People who live on the Station Road side of Warnham have to take their lives into their own hands while crossing it on two accounts by foot and by car when your turning left out of Station Road onto a fast 50mph road.
“In one mind you want to walk your children to your village school or the local park, which is a few minutes’ walk as the right environmental choice, however you can’t bring yourself to do this as you have to cross one of the most dangerous roads in West Sussex, so the car is always the option as crossing the road with two young children is not something I will consider.”
Kathy says there ‘is no safe place for pedestrians to cross’ and is now calling on West Sussex County Council (WSCC) to review the possibility of implementing some form of traffic calming measure.
But despite the public outcry, WSCC say ‘there are no current plans to further reduce the speed limit’.
A spokesman said: “The speed limit was lowered from the national speed limit, 60mph, to 50mph in 1999 as part of a route safety scheme, the number of reported injury collision has dropped from an average of 11 per year before the safety scheme to an average of six per year, current three years.”
The council has considered the A24 Horsham to Capel route ‘in some detail in the past’, however, under central government changes to the approach to funding local authority major schemes, it ‘was not identified for delivery or further development’.
He added: “We continually monitor the collision rates on all of our A roads and prioritise those routes with the highest levels of accidents for local improvement works.”
The accident rate in terms of vehicle miles for this section of the A24 is above the national average for rural A-class roads, and ranked 73 the county council’s list of priority locations for accident remedial work.