A new clampdown on traffic speed in Chichester could be on the cards following a decision by West Sussex county councillors on Tuesday night to press ahead with public consultation on the idea.
The proposal is for a 20mph limit in the city’s residential areas, but excluding A and B roads. The county council’s south Chichester county local committee approved the use of up to £11,000 for the consultation exercise, from funds provided by developers under planning agreements.
However 20’s Plenty campaigner Sarah Sharp said: “We are delighted the committee has agreed to let the people of Chichester decide the speed on the city’s streets. However we find it bizarre and disappointing that, unless there is a change of mind, the Frequently Asked Questions document which the council will be putting out to accompany the consultation will not be explaining the safety and health reasons behind the proposal.
“It is vitally important for people to be properly informed of the reasons why such a change would be beneficial. This campaign is about people’s lives and all our health.”
If local people are in favour, detailed cost estimates will be provided by officers for consideration at a committee meeting in November.
A figure of around £70,000 has been indicated, but councillors were told further funding might be needed if extra traffic engineering measures were required in some streets which did not meet the speed limit criteria. However, it is not expected the total bill will be more than £100,000, if the project goes ahead.
The ‘20’s Plenty for Chichester’ group has been campaigning vigorously for a 20mph limit on all city roads.
It has gained support from nearly 3,000 people, and backing has also been given by schools, residents’ associations and groups, and health organisations including the accident and emergency department at St Richard’s Hospital and three doctors’ surgeries.
Committee chairman Cllr Mike Hall said the committee was not recommending one way or the other in the consultation. The committee would look at the matter again at its November meeting.