In 2019 the fence alongside the B2178, opposite Oakwood, was replaced. The previous wooden post and barbed wire fence had reached the end of its life having suffered the effects of the elements, vehicle crashes, deer strikes and falling timber.
The replacement fencing is a stock-proof 1.2m X-fence galvanised product supported by the Clipex post and strainer system.
This fencing system had been tested in a short run for cost of installation, durability, effectivness and of course aesthetic properties.
As with any cap-ex decision we were wanting to satisfy a number of criteria to the greatest level of return. Aesthetic being only one weighted criteria. Other criteria included:
Durability of materials to the ravages of the english climate
Flexibility and speed of installation
Strength and safety
Ability to contain stock of all sizes, from lambs to cattle
Safety – design to prevent lambs getting heads stuck
Effectiveness at reducing deer migrating across B2178 and causing accidents
It turns out this fence evokes quite different reactions from users of the B2178. Much like marmite the feedback has been starkly opposing. With responses ranging from it being used as a landmark (“where that smart fence is”) to “I don’t like it, why?”
Understandably these responses focus primarily on the aesthetic, with a trend for those in favour to see the aesthetic in a positive light when there is a natural appreciation of the function.
Like all things, the aesthetic will undoubtedly change over time through weathering and vegetation growth. Perhaps all that will be left to appreciate then is the function, less dead deer, and far fewer car parts being recovered from the field.
On the same day I was given a copy of this old photograph of the B2178 we are reminded, once again of the need to improve safety on the B2178 Salthill Road junction after another car leaves the road crashing into the garden of Sennicotts Lodge.
Within the last month the Chichester Observer has carried two front page stories reporting on two serious accidents on the B2178. The first involved a serious injury and the second involved serious injuries and a fatality.
Since arriving in 2004 we have seen many accidents on this road. Everyone who uses the road regularly knows how dangerous it can be. Local residents have made constant representations to West Sussex Highways.
Yet the only response is there have not been enough fatalities to move the issue up the priority list. Once at the top of this list speed restriction measures etc will be considered.
To be fair some action was taken about a year ago – they took away the anti-skid red surface across the Hunters Race and Salthill Road junctions. Apparently this was a safety measure.
The real concern is the number of near misses that take place on a weekly basis. People overtaking cars turning right, cars pulling out in front of other cars, and emergency braking maneuvers are all part of every day life on this junction.
A simple bit of observation is all the Highways team need to adopt to make a judgement on how to prevent this road rising to the top of the fatalities list. Better still they could run the gauntlet in their own cars a few times.
We were very saddened to see a bunch of flowers laid outside our entrance on the main road.
We knew there had been an accident at the weekend but that is not really newsworthy on this dangerous stretch of road with multiple junctions.
Although we know nothing about the accident or those involved, this trajedy affects us more personally being so close to home.
What the bereaved might not want to hear is that we have been asking for the safety of this stretch of road to be taken more seriously by West Sussex Highways for years. However, our warnings have fallen on deaf ears.
The response has always been that reducing speed limits is not considered until the level of fatalities hits a trigger level. This rediculous policy completely fails to take into account that this is both a dangerous junction with regular accidents and it is difficult for drivers to negotiate safely.
In other words, it is a fatal accident waiting to happen which no statistics will show but which is plain to see if you use the road.
Our thoughts are with the families and friends affected by this accident.