County Council takes action at Balcombe to maintain road safety
Date: 9 September 2013
Press release number: PR5661
West Sussex County Council has confirmed that it is to remove
people, roadside tents, canopies and caravans on the B2036 London
Road, Balcombe, in an area close to the site where energy company
Cuadrilla is completing exploratory drilling work.
The Council, as the Highways Authority, is taking the action
over increased concerns for the safety of all road users.
Notices will be served today (Monday) and if the land is not
vacated within 24 hours this will be followed up with court action
to seek possession of Council owned verges and an injunction
preventing people from returning.
The County Council said today in a statement:
“This is a very busy road with a 60 mph limit, and unlit at
night. There are increased safety concerns that as a responsible
highways authority we must address.
“Our action is designed to protect all road users including the
people on the verges and passing motorists. It is purely and simply
about road safety, and also keeping the public highway open.
“There have been a number of incidents in the road last week
that have given rise to new concerns. The incident during
which a man climbed a tripod in the middle of the road, has shown
the sort of dangers posed to motorists and people on the verges.
Cars had to take avoiding action, and it delayed 60 children
getting to school.
“We have been monitoring the area closely. It is clear people
are regularly straying on to the road and we also need to
re-establish visibility lines for accesses to a nearby farm and
“Local schools have started a new term and as a result there is
likely to more traffic using this section of road.
“There has also been rain and that brings with it the risks of
vehicles skidding if they are distracted by activity in the road or
on the verges.
“We would emphasise again that this action is being taken to
protect all road users.
“This is not about removing the right to peaceful protest.
The Council and Police are establishing a defined area where
peaceful protest will be facilitated. We would encourage
protestors to use it.
“We need to strike a balance between the safety of road users
and the democratic right of people to protest lawfully. We believe
that this move meets this balance and shows that we are acting
Last Monday it was announced that Cuadrilla has withdrawn an
application for an extension to its planning permission for
exploratory drilling at Balcombe. This means that a Planning
Committee meeting due on 19 September has been cancelled.
The company has confirmed that a new planning application for
the site will be lodged in the near future, but this will not go in
front of the Committee before 2014, and there will be a full
consultation with every opportunity to make representations.
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