TERRIFIED villagers have been told they must pay if they want a speed limit to be reduced.

People in Westmeston, near Hassocks, want the limit in Spatham Lane to be cut from 60mph to 40mph.

But they have been told by East Sussex County Council they must pay up to £17,500 to start the application process.

Resident Rob Mills said the country lane has become a “death trap”.

The danger became obvious when villager Beverley Berrill was knocked off her horse by a car two years ago.

Westmeston Parish Council chairman Mr Mills said: “The accident brought it all home.

“It’s life or death but we just haven’t got any money left. It is only a matter of time before someone gets killed. I know it.”

Mr Mills said it was too dangerous to walk dogs down the road to a nearby footpath because of how narrow Spatham Lane was.

Parish clerk Cathy Mills said the road was being used dangerously as a shortcut because of traffic build-up around the area.

She said: “So many people throw rubbish out of their windows. We often do litter picks there but it’s so dangerous we have to do it in a group.

“Someone has to be on the lookout to make sure oncoming cars slow down.”

Resident Fred Palmer said he found six wing mirrors littered across the lane at the last litter pick.

“The lane narrows very quickly which makes crashes very likely,” he said.

“The narrowest point is 3.8 metres long, which is more narrow than a single lane of a B-road.”

But it is not just lowering the speed limit Westmeston residents are concerned about.

Vincent Tickner said the road should be taken off sat navs so fewer drivers were encouraged to use it.

He said: “I think sat navs have made the problem worse for people living on country lanes.

“People have never been on these roads before and usually go as close to the limit as possible.

“In nearby Chailey Lane the residents installed a speed camera and found some were going as a high as 110mph.”

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield has raised the issue in Parliament previously. She said: “As a member of that group I will do all I can to ensure they have the funding to make these proposals a reality.”

A spokesman for East Sussex County Council said it had “very limited resources” and would focus on areas “where the need is greatest”.

“Reducing the speed limit of a road does involve considerable cost, including a lengthy legal process,” he said.

“An initial assessment indicates the cost of implementing this scheme would be around £35,000.”