THE FIRST YEAR: 2015/2016
SAGA – Speeding Action Group Arlington – was set up in February 2015 by a small group of ‘new’ locals who were appalled at the speed at which vehicles were allowed to drive through a rural village. Did other residents think the same? Did they think that a 60 mph limit – yes, officially our lanes are subject to a limit that is only 10 mph slower than a motorway – was a safe speed for pedestrians, equestrians, cyclists and other motorists? The most important first step was to find out.
SAGA created an on-line petition, which was also posted at central points (such as pubs) throughout Arlington village. In two weeks they had collected over 350 signatures and they had their answer. Everyone agreed – road safety had to be improved! And preferably by imposing a 30mph limit.
This was the start of a long and somewhat arduous journey.
Although SAGA has come some way to achieving the goal of heightening the need to reduce speed through the village and improving road safety, theystill have some way to go.
The main objections are coming from Highways and the County Council.
They state that Arlington is safe for equestrians, hikers, dog walkers, pedestrians and cyclists despite the fact that cars, motorbikes and commercial vehicles travel along our country lanes at speeds up to 60 mph. The village does not fit the Highways criteria required for reducing the speed limit, which states that 20 dwellings should exist along a 600 metre stretch of road to qualify for a 30mph limit.
We have explained to Highways and East Sussex County Council that our village is unique, in that most of the dwellings are spread out over a two-mile stretch of road. It is a long village! Also, it is an important tourist area for walkers, cyclists and equestrians alike – and they should be allowed to move around in safety. The biggest pitfall is that our lanes are used as a ‘rat run’ by commuters travelling from the A27 to the A22 who want to take a short-cut and avoid the busy Polegate interchange.
And these commuters are in a hurry to get to and from work!
Furthermore, all surrounding villages in the area have 30mph limits – why not ours? But Highways are sticking to their ‘criteria’.
What we have managed so far.
After several months’ campaigning, Highways agreed that most of the original signage and road markers should be replaced (this was long overdue anyway!). We also campaigned for Village signs that welcome drivers to Arlington and request that they slow down.The Parish Council agreed to pay for these and they were installed, in April 2016, on The Street as you approach the Village Hall and by Primrose Farm on Caneheath. This has given the village an identity and warns motorists that people actually live here!
We are still awaiting an extra Village sign for Bayleys Lane, and for ‘slow’ signs to be painted on the road at strategic points. Progress is frustratingly slow – but we ARE making progress and will pursue our aim to have a speed limit installed for Arlington Village. It’s a no-brainer.
Councillor John Parsons has spoken to the Highways department and they have agreed to re look at the SAGA file with a view to introducing a 40 mph limit, rather than a 30 mph limit. (It may be that our village fits the criteria for a 40mph limit rather than the 30mph requested).
IF YOU AGREE WITH OUR CAMPAIGN AND WISH TO SUPPORT IT, PLEASE LET US KNOW BY CLICKING HERE AND SENDING A MESSAGE TO SAGA. We will continue to push for a speed limit, but we do need your help.
SAGA’s Diary of progress
Set up SAGA and identified objectives.
Presented SAGA objectives to the Parish Council together with a signed petition with 355 signatures from local people supporting our objectives.
The Petition was then taken and presented to the Chairman of East Sussex Council at County Hall, Lewes
Planned to present SAGA report to ESCC in July 2015 with the help of Councillor Nick Bennett.
Keep up pressure through APC and ESCC
Speed Monitoring in Village at 5 hot spots.
Data was used to work out average speeds, These speeds fell within the recommended limits required by Highways but this did not take into account that to achieve these average speeds you have to travel very quickly on the straight stretches of road before hitting a blind bend.
What it did do however was to identify that Arlington should fall in to a 40 mph zone. (Re 2005 Scrutiny review of setting speed limits in rural East Sussex).
Presented SAGA report to ESCC AT County Hall, Lewes to full council and Highways.
Highways had decided on a response that rejected our findings before even bothering to read SAGA report. Councillor Carl Maynard noted this and he advised hat we would be back!
Letters then passed between Councillors Nick Bennett and Nus Gharni and SAGA but without further progress.
Highways agrees to visit Arlington and review the state of road furniture with Parish Council and SAGA.
More correspondence between MP, SAGA and Cll Bennett.
SAGA use flyers to encourage locals to attend next APC Meeting.
Over 30 people attend and APC agree to write to ESCC and Highways and recommend 20/30/40 MPH Plan in village, This they fail to do, and everyone is most disappointed at the lack of action. They promise to remedy this after the next meeting,
APC write to ESCC and Highways and Mike Higgs from Highways agrees to visit Arlington to formulate a plan.
Nus Ghani approached again for support for 30 mph but pushes matter back to Nick Bennett. Response to him from Highways is still that we do not meet 30 mph requirement.
John Parsons attends SLR (Strengthening Local Relationships) Meeting and raises report with Ian Johnson to re look at 30 mph for Arlington.
Mike Higgs given the go-ahead for work to progress and needed written consent to order Village Signs.
Reflector posts re-instated.
New Village signs in place and looking good.