VOTE: Row over £141,000 repair to ‘intact’ Chichester road

The county council has been blasted for spending £141,000 on a resurfacing scheme for a ‘perfectly intact’ road in Chichester.

The issue was raised during a county council debate at County Hall on the extreme weather conditions which hit the county last month.

Cllr James Walsh said the first priority of the highways authority was to ensure better drainage of road surfaces and to get better resources for repairing the vast increase in the number of potholes.

“Would this not be better than spending £141,000 on resurfacing Orchard Street, Chichester, felt to be rather noisy and dusty, which had a perfectly intact road surface?” he demanded.

“There are at least 20 roads in my division which are far worse than Orchard Street.”

But Tim Rooth, of the Orchard Street Residents’ Association, said residents had been waiting many years for the resurfacing works to be carried out.

He said: “There have been huge problems with noise and pollution on this street. We campaigned to get it resurfaced and it’s early days but we think it’s fantastic.”

“A lot of people live by the road and have been deeply affected by the traffic.”

Air quality

At the council meeting, council leader Cllr Louise Goldsmith said Orchard Street was not about dirt and dust, but about air quality for residents.

She said: “The resurfacing helps to reduce noise and in turn the amount of dirt and grit. It is one of the busiest roads in Chichester, a main commuter route, and this scheme will help reduce pollution.

“Having driven on the new surface it is instantly noticeable how quiet it is. Residents are really noticing the difference and I am sure commuters are getting a smoother journey.”

Cllr Pieter Montyn, cabinet member for highways and transport, said damage to roads caused by flooding was similar to that caused by melting snow.

Once they had a complete picture, and reports from the Environment Agency, Southern Water, parish councils, and local people, priorities would be worked out for what needed to be done. Highways safety was always the prime concern.

Cllr Montyn said the question of surface treatment of roads like Orchard Street was part of a programme where priorities were assessed by officers.

What do you think?

Was the £140,000 spent on resurfacing works well spent? Cast your vote in the poll to the right of the screen and leave your comments below.