Pressure mounting over Friday Street

Tributes at scene Friday St Eastbourne
Tributes at scene Friday St Eastbourne

Further pressure is being put on East Sussex County Council to improve safety at Friday Street after the death of a five-year-old girl.

Since the road accident, which killed Shinewater School pupil Andrea Gada last month, there have been calls for improvements to the 40mph road.

County councillor for Langney, Alan Shuttleworth, is pressing East Sussex County Council (ESCC) to respond to the overwhelming feeling from residents across the area to provide a traffic signal controlled crossing in Friday Street, at the junction with Shinewater Lane.

Cllr Shuttleworth said, “All our thoughts are with Andrea’s family at this time, but we can do something positive as a community to improve road safety. Friday Street is a very busy, and a fast road.

“It can be difficult to cross the road in safety, and there are an increasing number of people of all ages crossing to reach schools, health, shopping and community facilities.

“A controlled crossing at the Shinewater Lane junction would also serve residents who live in the Pennine Way, Penrith Way and Helvellyn Drive areas, and provide a safer crossing point.”

This comes after a petition was launched to make the road safe, and the Gada’s neighbour David Browning called for safety measures on the road.

Mr Browning told the Herald last week, “This was an accident that could and should have been prevented.”

Prior to the accident ESCC responded to requests for improvements by stating that Friday Street is a low priority for improvements.

In a letter responding to a request from MP Stephen Lloyd, only days before the accident, East Sussex County Council said, “Any improvements to existing facilities or installation of any new facilities would therefore be a low priority in terms of road safety.”

Cllr Shuttleworth, who is also a governor at Shinewater Primary School, added, “This tragic accident has highlighted the need for an additional safe crossing point. The county council need to review the current crossing arrangements along Friday Street, as well as the speed limit in the road.”

Cllr Shuttleworth has spoken at ESCC about the need for a higher profile on road safety and about the need to increase the provision for school crossing patrols. He has pledged to continue to press for road safety improvements, in particular for Friday Street.

Brian Banks, road safety manager at ESCC, said, “We were sorry to hear about this extremely tragic accident and our thoughts are with Andrea’s family. The incident is currently being investigated by the police and any highways issues found to be associated will be raised and addressed.

“We have previously carried out road safety investigations on Friday Street, but the results did not meet the criteria for the road to be considered a priority. We would always carry out an assessment when concerns about the safety of a road are raised.”