A big slowdown for traffic throughout Chichester has moved a step closer following a decision by West Sussex county councillors and backing from the local member of the European Parliament.
The Chichester south county local committee backed the idea of a £30,000 consultation on a possible 20mph limit across the city – an outcome which delighted campaigners, who applauded when the decision was taken.
The good news came after Keith Taylor, MEP for Sussex and the south east, threw his weight behind the campaign while at Central Junior School in Chichester on Monday.
Mr Taylor, a member of the European Parliament’s transport committee, recently gained support from the parliament for 20mph residential speed limits to be recommended to boost road safety across the EU.
He said: “The local ‘20’s Plenty’ campaign has done a lot to highlight the benefits of a 20mph limit. A reduction in the speed limit would significantly reduce the number of road accidents in Chichester as well as making it a quieter, less congested and polluted place to live.”
The 20mph speed limit proposal will now be recommended to Cllr Pieter Montyn, the county cabinet member for highways and transport, who makes the final ruling. If he is in favour, the consultation will be paid for through ‘section 106’ funds, financial contributions from developers received by the county council as a result of planning applications to support infrastructure projects.
The committee agreed that, should the consultation demonstrate ‘significant’ local support, it would support in principle the allocation of further cash to work on a new city-wide speed limit.
This would be subject to it being identified as a priority in its infrastructure plan.
Tuesday’s decisions followed vigorous campaigning by the 20’s Plenty for Chichester organisation.
Its figurehead, Sarah Sharp, who presented a 3,091-signature petition to committee chairman Cllr Mike Hall before the meeting, told county councillors: “Over the past 18 months we have been endeavouring to put the Big Society into action with regard to bringing 20’s Plenty to Chichester.”
There was overwhelming support from people and organisations. Mrs Sharp urged the county council to adopt an option which would mean funding a 20mph limit for the city, including all A and B roads.
The area within Chichester’s inner ring road already has an existing 20mph area. The remainder of the road network consists of an estimated 72 kilometres, most of which have 30mph limits; almost all the A and B roads in Chichester are residential, and most of them link to the A27.
But reservations were expressed by Cllr Andrew Smith (Chichester East), who said that in Portsmouth, where a 20mph limit was introduced, although average speed declined, the number of people killed or seriously injured hardly changed at all.