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Thursday September 24th 2020

Bletchingley Parish Council in conjunction with Local Land Owner and Silbelco make improvements at the Sandy Lane/Little Common Lane Junction

If you’re a driver you may already be aware of dramatically improved sight lines as you emerge from Sandy Lane.     You will also certainly be aware of the large number of accidents that have occurred at this junction particularly over the last few years.   Bletchingley Parish Council (BPC) was so concerned that a fatal accident was highly likely to result that they started keeping a log of all related incidents.    The following are two examples of accidents that happened over 2019:-

Accidents over the year were averaging one a month, and in the dark winter season as many as 2 to 3 a month. This alongside a villager petition at the end of 2018 gave us the ammunition needed to put before Surrey Highways. While it took longer than we would have liked, Surrey Highways did eventually make some road improvements including improved signage and high friction surfacing. However BPC as well as local villagers, were not at all satisfied that this would be sufficiently effective as the incidents of concern were invariably the result of cars emerging from the side roads.

At Bletchingley’s Annual Meeting in May 2019 the number of traffic incidents was discussed with villagers. Chris French of Brewerstreet Farm was present and he happened to repeat what he has been offering for years to Surrey County Council, namely an offer to gift land at the corner of the Sandy Lane Exit in order to improve the sight-lines. This was an offer we could not refuse!

After fruitless discussions with Surrey County Council, BPC decided to take things into its own hands, and take responsibility for doing something before there was a serious accident and villagers were killed or injured. So we joined in quick and simple negotiations with Chris and agreed to take on the legal costs of the change of ownership and the maintenance of the triangle of land which would be gifted to the Village.    On this basis we obtained planning permission for the works to proceed.

This left the cost of the grubbing out and disposal of the existing hedge, the significant earth moving work and the re-erection of a fence and planting of a new hedge. These costs were estimated at between £5k and £9k – an extremely large sum for a Parish Council.    Then Chris had the idea of approaching Sibelco and, to cut a short story shorter, Adam Daniels of Sibelco stepped in and Nick Allman carried out the works in a very short time-scale at no cost to the parish.

Sandy Lane Corner Viewed from Big Common:-

Pre-work Sight Line North from Sandy Lane:-

Sandy Lane Corner – Work in Progress:-

The New Sight Line North from Sandy Lane:-

Job Well Done:-

A much better view:-

And new Hedge planted: –

We hope that all readers agree that this provides a very significant improvement to this problem junction and while it cannot be expected to entirely eliminate the nasty series of accidents, we have recently witnessed we are hopeful that the number of incidents will be dramatically reduced going forward. On behalf of Bletchingley Parish Council we would like to thank Chris French and Sibelco for their contribution to village safety.

Dick Kiss and Sally-anne Ray

Bletchingley Parish Council –  05/03/20