'Diabolical' new junction blasted by Burgess Hill locals as Sussex council acknowledges issues

The new traffic lights in Burgess Hill Credit: ITV News Meridian

'Twas a few days before Christmas and all was not well in one town in southern England.

After months of roadworks in the centre of Burgess Hill in West Sussex, residents were given an early Christmas present which many say they did not ask for, or understand its need.

That gift from West Sussex County Council, a brand new junction, which included an additional set of traffic lights and the removal of a roundabout, which locals argue did a decent job as keeping traffic moving.

It means that drivers on Station Road and Mill Road are now reporting queuing for longer than they would've done before the changes were made.

The old and new layout of the town centre Credit: Bing Maps

On the 'Reinstate The Roundabout' Facebook group, which has over 550 members, one user wrote,

"The roundabout has destroyed the smooth traffic flow & flexible interchange (which roundabouts were invented to enable)."

Another comment said, "Am not bothering to shop in BH anymore, it takes too long to get in and out and too frustrating. Live in Keymer Road."

While another person added, "£4.5 million to create a problem that was never there."

And on a petition, that's so far received over 600 signatures, the message from one person who'd signed it was, "the whole thing is a disaster".

Residents on Mill Road now have to wait at a set of traffic lights Credit: ITV Meridian

The changes to the junction are part of a £4.7m taxpayer funded programme designed to improve connectivity for cyclists, pedestrians and walkers in addition to the 14km network of paths already introduced around Burgess Hill.

West Sussex County Council says it is aware of the complaints and and made changes before Christmas, with work continuing now to look at further alterations to the scheme.

A spokesperson said,

"We are aware of the situation with the new traffic signals at the junction of Station Road, Church Road and Mill Road and are currently looking at ways to mitigate the problem.

"During the design stages the signals were modelled based on traffic flows which demonstrated no adverse impact on the operation of the junction and aimed to keep both Station Road approaches, coming from the Waitrose direction and the station, running at the same time.

"However, when the signals were switched on and our engineer reviewed the safety process, we witnessed a number of concerning driver behaviours, with failure to give way to oncoming traffic when turning right from Station Road into Church Road. 

"As a result, the decision was made to split the two Station Road approaches, so they now run independently of each other which has been part of the reason why drivers are experiencing delays."

There is a significant amount of money being ploughed into the scheme which the local authority says will deliver "improved sustainable transport infrastructure" however, for many residents, the phrase "if it ain't broke don't fix it" comes to mind.

While the roads locally have been quieter compared to the run up to Christmas, the real test for this system will be in the New Year when children return to school and people to work after the festive break.