Villagers have expressed their disappointment after a trial for four sets of traffic lights on a medieval high street was approved.

East Sussex County Council yesterday approved the four-week trial of the lights – at a cost of £85,000 – in the picturesque village of Alfriston.

Villagers and businesses had formed a protest group, Conserve Alfriston, to fight the controversial plans.

They claim the lights will cause traffic queues, affect road safety and hit businesses trying to load and unload goods.

Conserve Alfriston supporters protested with placards outside the meeting at County Hall in Lewes.

Speaking to The Argus after the decision, the group’s spokesman Bill Rendall said: “We are disappointed and concerned that the trial will prove to be a waste of money at a time of austerity.

“Alfriston is a historic and very special village where we all are privileged to live.

“Traffic lights would be intrusive and lead to more problems than they solve and the majority of residents and businesses are opposed to the idea.”

The trial is set to determine whether the traffic signal scheme will alleviate traffic problems in the High Street.

One set of signals will be placed in Star Lane and three sets in Weavers Lane with 20mph speed limit for four weeks.

There will also be a subsequent four-week trial of just a 20mph speed limit so the two schemes can be considered independently of one another.

The scheme also aims for various permanent street signs and extended double yellow lines through the main street.

The decision was given the go-ahead by lead cabinet member for transport and environment Councillor Nick Bennett, before he was heckled by protesters.

He told the meeting: “This is a trial to determine whether or not lights will be a suitable solution for Alfriston village.

“Whether we delay or abandon it, we are left in a situation of how do we gain any evidence of about whether traffic lights could be a suitable solution.”

The trial is set to start in September and results of the traffic and speed monitoring will be released in spring 2019.

Mr Rendall said: “We shall be scrutinising the results. We will need a lot of convincing if it is to show traffic lights really are effective in the dealing with the problems in the village.”