West Dean speed limit to be reduced

After years of campaigning, West Dean’s speed limit will finally be reduced to 30mph in just over two weeks.

But while those who have fought for the reduction welcome it, they still want a pedestrian crossing, something West Sussex County Council has said may be too costly.

The 30mph speed limit, agreed in May, will be in place from Friday, November 11.

Head teacher at West Dean School Gill Moss said: “I feel very much that both arguments against having a controlled pedestrian crossing outside our school are valid to a point, but the statistics show this level of investment in road safety will save money in the long run, and the recent accidents, while very disturbing, prove a crossing is very much needed despite the seemingly-low volume of pedestrians daring to cross here.

“Both lives and money will be saved.”

Children in Year 5 and Year 6 have worked with their teacher, Mr Dobson, to look at the cost of accidents on the economy.

They said: “An accident where there is a serious injury costs the economy £200,000.

“A fatal accident costs the economy £1.8m.

“The total cost of road traffic accidents to our economy is £13bn.

“These figures are from the Report for the Institute of Advanced Motoring, October 4, 2011.”

A statement from WSCC explained the delay in implementing the speed limit was because of objections to the scheme, by the police, and a change of their highways contractor.

It added: “The desired crossing point is outside a pub where some parents park and then help their children cross the road.

“To install a crossing here would require significant physical changes at the pub forecourt – for example building a footway and affecting private land.

“Installing the crossing further away from here would reduce the likelihood of people using it.”

WSCC said the number of people wanting to cross the road was ‘relatively small’, and the small amount of use might lead to poor driver reaction times when lights were red.

It added: “Though safety is important, as is the life of every child and road-user, at a potential cost of £60,000 to £80,000 it might be considered these funds are better invested at other locations.”