Response to the E.S.C.C. Lead members recommendation not to change the current speed limit along Shortbridge road and Golf Club lane.

 


 I am Robert White, representing the Piltdown Residents association.  I would like to thank you for this opportunity to express the feelings of the Piltdown residents who are extremely disappointed with the lead member’s recommendation not to reduce the speed limit on either Shortbridge road or Golf Club lane in Piltdown. 

This has raised some concerns which I would like you to hear, with the possibility of   reversing the recommendation. We feel that statistics have played a large part in your findings.

 The report states in paragraph 2.1 that it was January 2009 since the last speed surveys were carried out – 6 years ago.  If the department of transport statistical release of the 5th June 2014 can be anything to go by, we can see that traffic on rural minor roads   (‘b’  ‘c’ and unclassified roads) has increased by 2.7% in 2013 compared with the previous year.

 

  • Uckfield will be increasing housing development by 1,000 homes plus a new business park under two miles from Shortbridge road and Golf club lane which will increase traffic considerably along rural c class roads.  Internet shopping has increased which already adds to a recent increase in fast moving heavy vehicles. Within the next five years this will increase further. We do not feel that the 2009 statistics are a valid source of information and needs to be up-dated.
  • The herds of deer crossing at night, is on the increase, the latest count being a herd of 17 & 20 in May and June this year.  The golf course adjacent to both roads, have sheep which have wandered on to the road and three have been killed by cars in the summer of 2013 and 2014.  Statistics held by the forest ranger show that injured and killed deer is under reported and yet a count as high as 294 in 2014 has been recorded.
  • Piltdown is within a 10km area of the worst site in the entire country for injured and killed deer, 40mph road painted signs have been introduced on Ashdown forest which has reduced speed and accidents.
  • A motor cyclist was killed in Chailey last year hitting a deer; we do not want this in Piltdown.  Both Shortbridge road and Golf club lane have no footpaths and are regularly walked. Six public footpaths cross the golf course and adjacent fields which lead on to the Shortbridge road, any one walking them has to walk quite long distances along the road to join up with the next closest footpath some around blind bends.
  • With fast approaching traffic this is extremely dangerous. Golfers have to cross the Shortbridge road in two places, usually pulling trollies which are slow moving.
  • During the winter months on Tuesdays and Thursdays there are approximately 24 to 30 people crossing the two exits over a four hour period when roads are icy and braking distances are longer. These numbers increase in the summer to  approximately 40 persons on each of these two days.
  • Club competitions all year around are being played on Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays when it is not unusual to have 40 players on each day.  These figures equate to an average of 500 people crossing each week. this is without individuals and society matches taking place which could easily add another 150 crossings a week. 
  • There is a car park on Shortbridge road for golfers, which is used frequently on the same days, over twenty cars move in and out between the hours of 09:00am and 13:00pm.  On golf club lane where there are no pavements, golfers have to walk along the lane for 500 metres to reach a midway tee box, most who are pulling golf trollies.
  • These are valid points which residents see on a daily basis and is not seen by the authorities.
  • In addition there is another car park used by the public and by the Copthorne angling society by Piltdown pond.  This car park is also used frequently, the exit is most dangerous as motorists cannot see cars approaching along Shortbridge road travelling in a West bound direction and at any speed over 40 mph motorists manoeuvre taking a calculated risk.  Opposite the Piltdown pond is Sharpsbridge lane where there is a triangle road junction, cars enter and leave Shortbridge road on two exit points, one junction facing east is a blind area, again motorist take a calculated risk when crossing, the statistics of January 2009 shows speeds above 40mph which we are sure have increased making this a dangerous junction, lower speed restrictions are needed on this stretch of road.
  • Not mentioned previously are the stables on Shortbridge road where horse riders are frequently seen.  On good authority the publican at the Peacock inn has reported an increase in fast moving traffic during specific times of the day, namely rush hour and late night which has been reported to the police. The police agreed it does not check speeds late at night, motorists are aware of this and increase their speed knowing they can get away with it. Highlighted in the recent Fletching and Piltdown parish plan of 2015 showed 73% of residents had concerns on high speed driving along Golf club Lane and Shortbridge road.
  • There are six properties on the rural parts of Shortbridge road which are not visible and motorists who do not know the road drive fast past them and do not slow down on bends or even where housing is visible.  The suggestion that some drivers see repeater signs as a target to go faster is not proven.  Road markings instead of repeater signage stating speed limits (as seen on the Ashdown forest) are more effective.
  • If finance is a major concern to reduce speed limits would there be an opportunity for matching funds?
  • As well as under reported deer accidents, the same applies to accidents with motorists. When there are no injuries or fatalities, therefore crash data is not exact. There has been a fatality (reason unknown  prior to the three year statistics) along Shortbridge road unfortunately not recorded because it was more than three years ago.
  • Injuries with cyclists:  when they have been forced off the road, which I personally witnessed in 2014, again not recorded.  Cars travelling at high speeds misjudge their breaking distance when suddenly they have a cyclist in front of them, with approaching cars also travelling at high speed, usually it is the cyclist who gives way and the motorist continues not knowing they may have caused an accident.  Cycling has become a national sport and has exploded in popularity, Shortbridge road is one of the main routes for individuals /clubs and competitive racing with scores of cyclists every weekend and during the summer holidays.  This will increase to week days.

The residents’ concerns are seen to cover all eventualities whether it be motorists - cyclists – horse riders – pedestrians - golfers or hikers. Traffic needs to be slowed down before there is another fatality which is already one too many.

Finally, can we ask for the lead members report to be re-considered and moved towards giving the Piltdown residents the peace of mind that Shortbridge road and Golf club lane will be granted a lower speed limit of either 40mph or 50 mph?