Lowering the speed limits to 20mph in some residential areas in Eastbourne has been proposed by the town’s council.
Eastbourne Borough Councillors unanimously agreed that some streets in Eastbourne should have the lower speed limit, particularly outside schools and where children congregate.
The matter was brought to the council meeting by Cllr Alan Shuttleworth.
He told fellow councillors, “ As local councillors we are lobbied about a wide range of issues but road safety, and in particular the speed of traffic , is one of the top concerns of residents.
“Across Langney, and in particular close to schools and where children play, I am constantly lobbied for measures to reduce the speed of vehicles.
“Excessive speed is one of the biggest contributory factors in crashes.”
Funding for road improvements and changes is the responsibility of East Sussex County Council, and while Eastbourne Borough Councillors agreed with Cllr Shuttleworth’s motion, they suggested cash for the scheme could be an issue.
Cllr Carolyn Heaps said, “There is nothing more ghastly than having a child run over or lives lost. It shatters families.
“Research shows 20mph lessens the loss of life so it is a no brainer.
“We need to do this and we need to do it as soon as possible.”
Robert McGowan from Bespoke, Eastbourne’s cycle campaign group, spoke at the meeting and told councillors the group would be very much in favour.
He explained reducing the speed of traffic would make cycling in the town safer and would encourage more people on to their bikes.
He said, “Only two per cent of journeys nationally are made by bicycle and it is about the same her e in Eastbourne. Why is cycling so unpopular? Because most people find it too dangerous.
““People have a very genuine and understandable fear of the traffic on the roads.”
He went on to encourage councillors to back the 20mph motion and said it would give Eastbourne ‘safer, quieter, cleaner and nicer streets’.
Cllr Shuttleworth said other cities including Portsmouth, Oxford, Bath and Brighton had implemented the 20mph zones and they had been very successful.
He said the benefits would include better air quality and a reduction in stress for the town’s people. But explained the main reason was safety .
Cllr Shuttleworth described East Sussex County Council’s a road accident record as ‘unenviable’ and added, “The road accident rate in East Sussex is far too high with the county falling short of the Government’s national road safety target.
“In 2010 the number of people killed or seriously injured in the county was 319. That was an improvement on the previous year when 32 children were killed or seriously injured. But these are not just statistics , they are lives ruined.”