WSCC Press Release – A29 Church Hill, Pulborough, update: essential, six-hour closure on 9 January

In independent geotechnical report has brought into question the health of the trees on both sides of Church Hill in Pulborough.

The road is currently open under traffic-light control but will have to be closed between 9.30am and 3.30pm on January 9 so that county council tree specialists can carry out a detailed assessment.

A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said: “The assessment, with geotechnical support, will have the stability of the embankments in mind. It will aim to establish what works are needed in the short and medium term to keep this section of highway safe.

“We also plan to utilise the road closure to carry out street lighting lamp upgrades, which will avoid the need to close the road again on a separate occasion.

“Once the assessment is complete, we will understand if additional works are required.”

Background, other information and previous updates can be seen on our A29 Pulborough web page.

A29 Church Hill, Pulborough: a general statement:

A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said: “We remain committed to the full and safe re-opening of Church Hill in Pulborough.

“We will maintain the current traffic-light controlled arrangement, although we may need to arrange the further temporary closure as part of our on-going risk management.

“The challenge the council faces in achieving a long-term solution remains the fact that the sources of the risk to the road are within two areas of privately-owned land. Legal options for this specific kind of problem are regretfully not straightforward and the issue has not been properly tested in the courts for many years, if at all. The easiest solution is to have formal agreements with the landowners.

“The council entered negotiations with the landowners, supported by technical reports to fully describe the problem and how to manage it. Those did not lead to an agreed plan of action. It has therefore been necessary to consider other, more significant legal steps to gain access to the land to carry out the necessary works so that the highway can be fully re-opened. This has required further technical assessments which have reinforced the council’s concerns and proposals.

“The council will continue to engage with the responsible landowners so that it can take a final decision whether to deploy the more significant legal option that provides the best chance of success.

“Meanwhile, and for as long as the plans take to follow through, the council will continue to monitor the situation along the route and may need to arrange temporary closure of the route in response to severe weather warnings.”