Next step for new transit site at Westhampnett depot

Westhampnett Depot
Westhampnett Depot

A CONTRACT is set to be awarded this summer for the construction of the new transit travellers’ site at Westhampnett.

Chichester District Council’s cabinet is set to delegate the release of hundreds of thousands of pounds for the work to take place from September – with a strict finish date of March, 2015.

A report to be considered on Tuesday by the cabinet cites the completion date as a ‘critical element’ to the project as it needs to reach this date to receive a £630,000 grant from the Homes and Communities Agency.

The report added: “A further requirement is to ensure that the key front-line services of refuse collection and street cleansing are not compromised at any time during the planned phases of building demolition or subsequent construction works.”

While the work goes on, the reports adds employees will park their cars at the Portfield football ground and in the ‘unlikely event’ of needing extra spaces at St James’ Industrial Estate, in Westhampnett Road.

The site has been a source of controversy for Westhampnett residents since its announcement last November, with the £1.3m site set to be jointly funded by all the local authorities in West Sussex.

It overcame its final hurdle when it received planning permission in May.

The report asks for agreement to delegate to Jane Dodsworth, the head of service for business improvement at the council, the power to award the contract.

Normally, the cabinet would have to agree the release of contracts in excess of £175,000, however after Tuesday’s meeting cabinet will not meet again until September 9, and the money needs to be available as soon as possible so the work can start in time to reach the deadline.

Initial building work includes the demolition of buildings surplus to requirements and construction of improved roadways within the Westhampnett depot, including a new exit road.

The cabinet is also expected to postpone the construction off a testing site for HGVs which is waiting planning permission to be built next to the transit site and following the transit site’s construction the test site be ‘re-evaluated’.