Residents of Pulborough have come together to protest against the closure of the A29, which has split their community in two after a landslide in December 2022. The protest, which took place on Sunday, saw residents using the hashtag #FixTheA29 to express their frustration at the lack of information about when the road will be reopened.
One of the organisers of the protest spoke to the media and said that the road closure was causing immense difficulty and vast expense for the community and businesses. They added that the lack of information about when the road will reopen is making the situation even worse. Residents were also asked to provide information about how much the road closure has cost them personally and their businesses so that they can send an ‘invoice’ to West Sussex County Council, which residents claim is fully to blame for this debacle.
In a further blow to the residents, a lorry took out a historic wall in the village due to the closure. Local residents claim that the signage around the road closure is so dreadfully bad that it is causing chaos on the roads, with drivers not being able to navigate the diversion routes correctly.
One resident took to social media to express their sadness at the situation, saying “This is sad for everyone. It’s sad for the poor stressed driver. It’s sad the signs remain hopeless three months on. It’s sad for the historical wall. It’s sad for the property owners. Be kind.”
The A29 in Pulborough was initially closed on December 28, 2022, after a landslide blocked part of the road. Since then, the road has been blocked in both directions between Station Road and St Mary’s Church. A public meeting was held by West Sussex County Council on Monday, February 27, where local residents vented their frustrations about the closure.
A spokesperson for West Sussex County Council acknowledged the frustration felt by local residents and the resulting inconvenience and hardship experienced by some businesses in the area. They also said that the council was considering reopening the road temporarily using a single lane controlled by two-way traffic lights. However, the council feels that this would create even more inconvenience and confusion while negotiations with the landowners continue.
The council spokesperson added that they were working hard to reach an agreement with the landowners to allow them onto their land to undertake the works needed to reopen the road to two-way traffic. The council believes that installing a temporary measure using concrete blocks to create a single lane down the centre of the road would result in potential confusion for road users caused by the change in status to the road.
The residents of Pulborough have made it clear that they will continue to protest until a solution is found to reopen the A29.