Traffic problems first

I NOTE the proposed shopping outlet on Barnfield Drive site is now a step closer, judging from last week’s headline, subject to a final planning decision to be made by Chichester District Council who own the site but intend to retain the ‘freehold’ as a means of income generation.

Before any further development upon the rural outskirts of the city is made, as a local resident, can I suggest CDC insists WSCC Highways department addresses the existing traffic problem which currently blights this part of the city before any retail park is built? As previous readers’ letters have indicated, Highways need to address the irresponsible parking on Swanfield Drive.

From correspondence with WSCC Western Area Office Highways department, this is a well-known, long-standing problem made worse by bureaucratic procrastination.

As local residents know this road is used as a major bypass for traffic entering the eastern part of the city wishing to avoid the A27 congestion. This road provides the only western exit for residents (who live in the eastern fringes of the city) who need to enter the city. It is also on the daily 55 bus route, plus has to accommodate the ever-expanding Graylingwell site development traffic.

The Highways department confirmed they were ‘fully aware’ of the traffic problem having been informed from numerous sources eg local residents, bus company, Sussex Police and the Chichester Observer. But no decision has been made apart from a ‘proposal’ to extended Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) to Swanfield Drive with no clear commitment (or funding) alongside a vague timescale.

What concerns residents is that the Highways department’s decision for a CPZ appears to have been reached purely based upon financial grounds without any ‘risk’ or ‘impact’ evaluation being undertaken in terms of local residents regarding the daily traffic congestion and delays caused by irresponsible parking (predominantly caused by visitors or staff of St Richard’s Hospital) which has since extended further up Swanfield Drive with parked cars now in double figures on a daily basis. How much does it actually cost to paint two yellow lines and erect a few parking restriction signs along Swanfield Drive?

I trust those members who supported of the CPZ decision will be ‘named’ when the first (preventable) accident, road rage incident arises or when an emergency vehicle is unable to get to St Richard’s Hospital as a consequence of ignoring the safety needs of local residents.

I would suggest those affected by this neglected matter (now made more pressing in light of the proposed Barnfield Drive development) contact WSCC’s Highways Department at cdbs.rural@westsussex.gov.uk or Pieter Montyn, WSCC Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, at pieter.montyn@westsussex.gov.uk or county councillor Andrew Smith.

DJ Gaylard

Peacock Close,

Chichester