Movers and shakers attend A29 mini-conference at Bury Village Hall

On Thursday 30th March, Bury Parish Council and the Bury A29 Road Improvement Committee (RIC) jointly staged a very successful mini-conference at Bury Village Hall.

Jointly chaired by our MP Andrew Griffith and RIC chair John Sunderland, the event was attended by 18 influential professionals and representatives who were asked to take a collaborative and collegiate approach to helping to resolve the issues associated with the A29 as it passes through Bury.

Speeding and anti-social behaviour were high on the agenda, but so was the landscaping of the road within the parish and its potential role as a ‘gateway to the Downs’.

Delegates included senior representatives from the police, the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA), West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and Chichester District Council (CDC), as well as the Police and Crime Commissioner and the estate manager for the Norfolk Estate. (Please see full attendee list below.)

The RIC presented delegates with a 12-point list of measures, which in combination could do much to reduce speeding, discourage anti-social behaviour and improve the appearance of the A29 so that it was seen by users less as a convenient bypass and more as a scenic route through the national park at the heart of a community.

The RIC’s video on the A29 impressed delegates and John Sunderland set the scene for the discussion, explaining how a 20-year problem had arrived at this point, and Bury Parish Councillor and RIC member Graham Morrison presented the case for concerted action.

Thanks in part to the stewardship of the co-chairs, delegates agreed a way forward that includes examining the case for a landscape study and assembling the evidence for a Community Highways Scheme, and Andrew Griffith urged those delegates not directly involved in that initial work to explore how best such a scheme could be financed.

Richard Champness, chair of Bury Parish Council, who was among the delegates, said afterwards: “I was pleased to see the conference was so well-attended. The positive discussions we had left me confident that a way forward can be found to resolve the issues associated with the A29 that are so important to parishioners.”

Here is the BA29 RIC video viewed by the delegates.

Here are the minutes of the mini-conference on 30th March.

The full list of attendees:
Andrew Griffith, MP; Katy Bourne, Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner; Simon Dobinson, Assistant Chief Constable Sussex Police; Kendal Wells, Chief Inspector, Sussex Police; Tim Slaney, Director of Planning, SDNPA; Tim Burr, Board Member, SDNPA; Diana Van der Klugt. Board Member, SDNPA; Alastair Deighton, Estate Manager, Norfolk Estate; Tom Richardson, County Councillor, WSCC; Alan Sutton, District Councillor, CDC; Joy Dennis, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, WSCC; Mike Thomas, Highways Manager, WSCC; John Sunderland, Chair Bury A29 RIC; Graham Morrison, Bury Parish Councillor and member of Bury A29 RIC; Paul Whyles, Bury Parish Councillor and member of Bury A29 RIC; Richard Champness, Chair Bury Parish Council.

The Bury A29 Road Improvement Committee’s 12-point proposals

  1. Investigate new landscaping of the A29 through Bury, emphasising 1: its important role as the ‘Gateway to the Downs’ and 2: that this is not a bypass but goes through the heart of a community.
  2. Engineering works to delay the start of the overtaking lane on Bury Hill
  3. Three pinch points’ to slow the traffic and provide safer crossings. Locations: present pedestrian crossing, at Coffin Trail and at South Downs Way on top of Bury Hill.
  4. Seek a reduction in the speed limit on the A29 through Bury. Currently illogical that from Hardham there is a series of 30mph and 40mph speed limits, only rising to 50mph within Bury’s boundaries (with school located on opposite side of A29 from main village and Hillside residential redevelopment imminent).
  5. New pedestrian footpath with adequate barriers and signage along the east side of the A29 to provide safe access to Bury recreation ground from the village. Recreation ground currently little used because of vulnerable access.
  6. Installation of acoustic or average speed cameras on Bury Hill.
  7. Resurfacing the road on Bury Hill to reduce sound levels and replanting of recently felled marginal trees to help reduce noise levels in the village
  8. Clearer signage on A29 emphasising speed limit and school.
  9. Additional speed indicator devices (local fundraising).
  10. New gates at village entry points (local fundraising)
  11. Raised beds, possibly sponsored, reinforcing sense of community (local fundraising).
  12. Seasonal poster campaigns to discourage anti-social road behaviour (local fundraising)