A developer has taken action to improve road visibility at a Horsham building site after businesses told the County Times there had been ‘near misses’ there.
Once full of derelict shop units, land in Queen Street is now cleared ready for work to start on 14 new homes.
But businesses say hoardings erected there obscure the line of sight for motorists and pedestrians.
Alina Homecare manager Geoff West said: “There’s a huge road safety issue here. They’ve put the fencing right up to the corner. The shops there used to be squared off.
“Our staff have cars by the very nature of the jobs they do.
“If they had put a mesh fence it would so much better. It’s three feet into the old pavement. It wasn’t perfect before, but it gave us so much more line of sight.
I have nearly run over a couple of pedestrians. They couldn’t see me.Geoff West, manager of Alina Homecare
“What worries me is the bicycles. They don’t even know there’s a road here. You cannot see the signs until you’re close.”
He added: “I have nearly run over a couple of pedestrians. They couldn’t see me. I have seen other people have near misses.”
Other businesses based in Hillreed House agreed.
Patricia Lewis of Private Wealth Mortgages Ltd said: “I haven’t had any near misses, but my advantage is I have a small car. My husband has a 4x4 with a long bonnet and you have to come right out before you can see.
“The problem is motorbikes. My husband and son have motorbikes so I know how things happen.”
A West Sussex County Council are meanwhile investigating the matter.
A spokesman said: “We have not issued a licence for hoarding at this location which appears to be outside 62 Queens Street, Horsham.
“It has been placed on WSCC highway without permission. We are visiting the site to resolve the matter.”
This is something developer Novus Property Ltd disputes.
In statement the directors said they were unaware of the issue until approached by the County Times. Their contractor also had contact from Horsham District councillor Godfrey Newman (LDem, Forest).
They said: “The contractor was contacted by councillor Godfrey Newman on behalf of the paper to inform us that a complaint had been made by a care home that the hoarding which we have erected on the site at Queen Street was restricting visibility to the right on exiting the road next to the site. Prior to this contact we were unaware of any problems with the hoarding.
“This hoarding has been erected on private land, with no part being on the public highway. We have spoken to the highways department who have verified this to us and that, therefore, the hoarding is outside of their jurisdiction.
“This hoarding is a direct replacement for a two storey building, which we recently had demolished, and is in fact lower than the previous building which stood on this plot, therefore the visibility has not significantly changed.
“However, as there appears to have been complaints made, we have held a meeting with the owners of the site and suggested that we have two vision panels cut into the side of the hoarding in order to increase visibility during construction. Hopefully, this will satisfy all parties.
“Should any further complaints arise, we would appreciate it if we could be informed to enable us to arrange a meeting on site in order for us to be given the opportunity to address any issues without the need for third party involvement.”
The company later confirmed contractors had now created the vision panels, however Mr West said the issue had not been resoved.
She sado; “The contractors have been out today to try and resolve the problem but in fact have not. The fence is still in its original position and they have simply cut a hole in it so as you approach the junction you can look through the hole and the front gates and see part of the main road.
“However, this hole is set back some way down the access road and so as you continue to the junction you still can only see the fence and not the road or pavement.
“It must have seemed like a good idea to someone sat in an office but clearly the road safety issue remains.”