Steyning mum calls for road safety shake-up after son nearly hit by car

A Steyning mum has reignited calls for traffic enforcement around Shooting Field after her son was almost crushed by a car.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 1:48 pm

Nikki Bartlett, 39, was walking her seven-year-old son William to Steyning CE Primary School recently when, amid the chaos of cramped on-street parking and drop-offs, a car almost reversed into him.

Luckily a tragedy was avoided by Nikki shouting and banging on the car, but she said the near miss is a clear sign something needs to be done to make the road safer.

“It’s so dangerous – people have been complaining for years to get something done and I’m not going to stop until something is,” she said,

Nikki Bartlett's children go to Steyning Primary School in Shooting Field, and her son William was hit by a car and she's asking for a crossing. Pic S Robards SR2103133 SUS-210313-170459001

“Something has to change because I would hate to think that it’s going to take a fatality or a very serious injury to make people change.”

Nikki, a childminder who lives in Shooting Field, said parents park on double yellow lines on both sides of the road, leaving very little space to manoeuvre.

The packed road forces vehicles to squeeze through, drastically decreases visibility and leads to children having to cross blindly between cars.

The situation is compounded by the sheer number of vehicles, as parents drop-off and collect their children from Steyning Grammar School as well as the primary school.

Nikki has written to West Sussex County Council asking for, in the short term, crossing patrols across Shooting Field and at the junction with Church Street.

Pedestrian crossings must be provided in the long term, she said, as well as wardens to properly enforce double yellow lines.

She has also suggested administering passes to people coming to work in Steyning to allow them to park all day and free up the road sides.

Many commuters are unable to use Steyning’s public car parks as the maximum stay is only six hours – forcing them to clog up the roadside along Shooting Field.

Steyning CE Grammar School’s head teacher, Susan Harrison, has supported Nikki’s campaign.

She said the school had asked the county council for crossing patrols and pedestrian crossings ‘many times’ over the years, but had been repeatedly turned down.

The school’s governors would be supportive of ‘anything that can be done’, she said, and added the primary school is currently in the process of drawing up its latest school travel plan.

A working party set up by Steyning Parish Council has recently opened a consultation on introducing a blanket 20mph speed limit for the whole town.

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “We are sorry to hear of any accident and take road safety matters very seriously.

“We recommend people report dangerous or anti-social driving behaviour to Operation Crackdown and ensure they copy the schools involved into any reports so they are kept informed.

“Schools can also use their newsletters to remind parents about the importance of safe parking.

“The Shooting Field site has a schools safety zone and protected ‘school keep clear’ markings. The main access to the school from the residential side is also the access for Steyning Primary pupils. There is a timed, single yellow line and double yellow line restrictions along the junction that has the most concern in Shooting Field.

“We are happy to work with the schools to look at their needs but will need to gather evidence to progress their suggestions: for example, we will need an up-to-date School Travel Plan so we can assess the need for a School Crossing Patrol.

“We would refer communities who wish to request improvements to the highway to our application processes on the website:

https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/traffic-regulation-orders/about-tros/apply-for-a-tro/

https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/leisure-recreation-and-community/supporting-local-communities/apply-for-a-community-highways-scheme/