Steps we are taking to address road safety concerns in Bexhill

From: Cllr Nuala Geary, Cllr Ian Hollidge, Cllr Abul Azad, East Sussex County Council

Monday, 25th October 2021, 8:26 am
A number of traffic solutions are available SUS-170727-090130001

As elected East Sussex County Council representatives of Bexhill North, South and West Divisions we understand the road safety concerns expressed by Mr Stebbing in last week’s Observer.

We also recognise that resident associations are well placed, in terms of knowing and seeing what goes on outside their doors. Working with them to find solutions to genuine concerns should not be simply dismissed, by either council officers or elected councillors. As county councillors we often receive similar responses from officers, as cited by Mr Stebbing when we forward or raise road safety requests. But we also recognise the constant challenge around funding and priorities. We have spoken with resident association representatives, in relationship to road safety measures. These include: Cllr Geary supporting the current Normans Bay Residents Association’s 20mph campaign, Cllr. Hollidge working with Bexhill Better Parking and Cllr Azad with School Streets in Sidley.

Those of us who have carried out risk assessments understand you have to project and consider ‘what may happen’. However, we do not accept the line that as nothing has previously happened, no precautions need to be considered. Statistics demonstrate most collisions are caused by driver error, or lack of attention which can happen anywhere. Reducing risk should be the priority, not waiting for a collision before action is taken. One problem is no national method of recording damage to property, only personal injury. This does not help in making a good decision in areas where changes need to be made.

When and if Government introduce the proposed Highway Code changes the new hierarchy of responsibility, rule H1 will be most welcome. It may then provide the opportunity to review the way road safety risks are assessed.

To reduce vehicles using residential areas as a short cut on a longer journey the Government recognises this by proposing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods as part of the solution. This may include 20mph limits but more likely requiring a different road layout with public realm improvements. Putting those who live in a neighbourhood first but still allowing those passing through access with consideration of residents should be the priority.

As new county councillors who now sit on the committees to influence change we will work to get those messages across to build back better.

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