VOTE: Should the speed limit in West Dean be reduced to 30mph?

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Anti-speed campaigners in West Dean are begging council officials for swift action before someone dies, after yet another car crash outside the village school.

The village has been asking for a change in the speed limit and introduction of safety measures for many years.

But the problem still exists for schoolchildren and villagers crossing the A286, and their campaign is beginning to sound like a broken record as no action has visibly been taken.

A change from a 40mph limit to 30mph limit was granted in May but is yet to be implemented.

The West Sussex County Council Highways Authority has said there are no confirmed timescales for either a pedestrian crossing to be put in place or for the speed limit to be changed.

West Dean parish councillor Steve Corbett does not want a fatality on the road before changes are made.

“Nobody can accept that as an argument because the whole point is prevention,” he said. “The school don’t want to win their case by turning round and saying ‘I told you so’ – you can’t say that to the parent who’s had their child run over.”

The need for action was made clear last Thursday when Heather Rowlinson-Jones was dropping off her nine-year-old daughter Maia off at the school. Maia suffered mild whiplash as a result of the three-car accident, which happened at 8.30am, and Mrs Rowlinson-Jones’ car was written off.

“It’s a dangerous road; they have to sit up and take notice,” she said. “We have been on at them for so long, it’s got to be done.”

She was driving down the hill from the north and stopped to indicate into the car school car park but was hit from behind by two cars. A lot of pedestrians also cross the road to the school, and are without a safe crossing point. In the past the schoolchildren have written to the West Sussex County Council, the Highways Authority, and even held a protest with placards outside County Hall.

Cllr Corbett added: “We have been begging the council officers to do some joined-up thinking. We had a proposal for a school safety zone on the table, but it was withdrawn and has now come back, but it’s based on the 40mph limit.

“If they can only put a 30mph limit in place, they will not be doing enough. We are begging them to come and talk to us.”

Headteacher Gill Moss said the accident had happened at one of the school’s busiest times “We can only have a certain number of cars in the car park, so they park over the road and walk across. Luckily no pedestrians were involved, otherwise it could have been a lot more serious.”

A West Sussex County Council spokeswoman said putting the 30mph limit in place has been delayed because objections were made to the idea.

“The job has now been passed to our contractor for implementation,” she said. “We shall be looking into the feasibility of a controlled pedestrian crossing.”