COUNTY councillors have voted to keep cars out of Bognor Regis High Street.
The resounding vote by five of the six county members will go to the Joint Western Arun Area Committee to be endorsed on September 25.
If the decision is supported, it will potentially have a major impact on the regeneration plans for the Regis Centre site because of the need to change traffic flow along the seafront to create more parking.
Cllr Tony Sutcliffe (UKIP, Nyetimber) was one of those who decided to keep the High Street’s central portion for buses and 999 vehicles only.
He said: “The sense I get from having attended several meetings is that the public at large don’t want major alterations to the present arrangements but do feel improvements could and should be made.
“The same appears to be true of businesses in general, though there is no complete concensus among either group, as it is to be expected.
“The greatest objection is that full-flow traffic in the High Street would be diametrically opposed to the concept of a pedestrian corridor from the railway station to The Esplanade.
“I also believe that the present use of the High Street as a hub of bus operations is perfectly sensible, in the absence of a formal depot.
“Permitting private traffic to share this space would be a retrograde step.”
The current set-up in the High Street - where cars, except for disabled badge holders before 11am and vans are banned between Sussex Street and Bedford Street - dates from 1999.
Three options for the future of the High Street were given to the joint western highways and transport sub-committee held in private last week.
One option was to continue and improve the present set-up with new signs and surfaces. Another was for two-way traffic in the High Street and the third for one-way traffic.A heated debate is said to have followed before the four UKIP county councillors and Lib Dem Francis Oppler supported the same option.
Cllr Oppler (Bognor Regis East) said: “There is no public will for the road to be reopened. People just want it made safer.
“The highways engineer recommended the present arrangements with improvements and that is what five out of six county councillors voted for.”