Campaigners vow to fight on for Comet Corner traffic lights

The busy Comet Corner junction''Picture by Louise Adams C140272-1 Bog Mar6 Headlines SUS-140303-153251001
The busy Comet Corner junction''Picture by Louise Adams C140272-1 Bog Mar6 Headlines SUS-140303-153251001
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The founder of the Comet Corner Action Group says she is ‘beyond enraged’ that long-standing plans to improve the busy junction have been shelved.

Angela Waller started the campaign group after people stopped her in the street to speak of the dangers of the notoriously congested crossing.

Plans to put traffic lights where the A259 meets the B2132 towards Yapton and Middleton were mothballed earlier this year after the county council said the cost had spiralled to £2.5m.

A budget of £500,000 was originally allocated for the scheme and £125,000 is said to have already been spent on drawings.

“I am enraged, beyond enraged, to read that the Comet Corner project has been shelved by West Sussex County Council,” said Middleton-on-Sea resident Angela in a letter to the Observer.

“For three years I was the coordinator of Middleton News from the first edition in Autumn 2002.

“After the last fatal accident occurred at Comet Corner in 2003, people telephoned me and stopped me in the street to talk about the dangers of Comet Corner and many said ‘we must do something’.

“This was so different from the usual ‘they’ must do something, that I started what became The Comet Corner Action Group. “Middleton-on-Sea parish councillor Nicky Mills immediately joined me and worked hard on the project; Arun district councillor Barbara Oakley OBE also gave her support, and we had the full support of Middleton-on-Sea Parish Council.”

A large number of members from the group joined parish councillors and MP Nick Gibb in presenting a petition of almost 5,000 signatures calling for improvements to Lt Col Tex Pemberton, who at the time was WSCC cabinet member for highways and transport.

Angela said: “Lt Col Pemberton assured us that he would give his full attention to matters concerning Comet Corner, and said that he would ‘take on board our concerns about Comet Corner’.

“They might as well have been taken on board the Titanic because, despite many proposals for something to be done at Comet Corner over the intervening years, they have now been sunk.”

But vowing to continue the fight, she added: “Have they sunk without trace? I think not, because the people who constantly face the dangers and frustration of Comet Corner will continue to demand that improvements, in the form of traffic lights, should be installed there.

“To West Sussex County Council, who now say that the project is too expensive, I can only say that if you look back at the figures that have been quoted over the years for this work to be undertaken, it would not have been ‘too expensive’ if it had been done when first suggested.”

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