Celia Barlow, MP for Hove and Portslade, February 2010

feb2010Celia Barlow, MP for Hove and Portslade, has been named ‘Parliamentarian of the Month’ by national road safety charity Brake and Direct Line Car Insurance for tirelessly fighting for pedestrian safety improvements on the A270 Old Shoreham Road and A2023 Sackville/Nevill Road crossroads, one of Hove’s busiest intersections. This month Celia took the campaign to Parliament when she delivered her constituents’ petition to the Government through an announcement in the Commons.

There have been a worrying number of crashes and many local people are now afraid to cross the intersection, which lies adjacent to two secondary schools, Hove Park Lower School and Blatchington Mill Secondary School. These school children have no choice but to face the dangerous flow of vehicles on their way to and from school.

Local constituents led by Katarina Sherbourne first approached Celia in 2009. When written complaints to the council achieved nothing, Celia contacted the council expressing her dismay and requesting that they conduct a feasibility survey in an attempt to find a solution. The council eventually responded, saying that the intersection would be tied to a planned development of the Sackville Road Industrial Estate. They stated that although changes to the crossing were being considered, they could not give campaigners any time frame for improvements. Katarina worked with Councillor Jayne Bennett to make a deputation to the council, which, on 28 January, Celia attended in a show of support.

Campaigners launched a petition which received 99% support from local residents who lived on the five roads at Painters Corner. Celia presented this petition to Parliament. In her question to the House, she urged Ministers in the Department for Transport to improve the safety for pedestrians and drivers at the junction.

Celia is in regular talks with developers of the Sackville Estate and the Council. She continues to place pressure on them to set a date for improvements. The next hurdle for Celia is to persuade them to start work before developments to the Industrial Estate have begun and not after this lengthy project has been completed. She will raise the issue at her next MP meeting and push for a result until these vital, life saving changes have been made.

Ms Katarina Sherbourne said: “We’re really pleased that Celia Barlow has supported our campaign from the start. She’s listened carefully and understood what we wanted to happen. She’s raised our issue in the Commons and is working closely with Councillors across the political spectrum to try and find a solution.”

Celia Barlow MP for Hove and Portslade, said: “I am delighted to have received Brake’s Parliamentarian of the Month Award for February and I am proud to be associated with this campaign. A safe crossing at this junction is vital to ensure the safety of road users, vulnerable pedestrians and particularly schoolchildren. I would also like to thank Ms Sherbourne and Councillor Jayne Bennett for bringing this issue to my attention and for their hard work and effort in organising this petition.”

Cathy Keeler, Brake’s Deputy Chief Executive, said: “We congratulate Celia for her perseverance and we hope improvements to the intersection will start without delay. We are delighted to present Celia with our ‘Parliamentarian of the month’ award in recognition of her substantial efforts. We urge Celia and the people of Hove to keep up their campaign”.