Bognor Regis High Street could open to traffic again

0
Have your say

Motorists could again be allowed to drive through Bognor Regis High Street.

A proposal to open up the central section of the road is to be discussed by councillors later this month.

One idea is to enable a one-way traffic flow the length of the currently-restricted access road between Sussex Street and Bedford Street.

The plan will be debated by Bognor area town, parish and county councillors at the Joint Western Arun Area Committee on May 30.

County councillor Mike Coleman said the matter of the High Street had been raised at the last meeting of the committee’s highways and transport sub-committee.

Cllr Coleman, who chairs the sub-committee, said: “We agreed the matter should be discussed at the next meeting of the committee to give a wide range of councillors the chance to have their say.

“County council highways officers will be present to give their views.

“The High Street does not work at the moment.

“We need to think about ways of allowing motorists to go through the town centre and to bring more traffic for the shops and businesses there.

“Now, it looks as though the seafront is not going to be closed for the regeneration schemes – as was suggested a few years ago – this is the right time to have this discussion.”

Trade

Penny Shrubb, the manager of Sight & Sound opticians on the corner of the High Street and Sussex Street, said: “I can’t see re-opening the High Street is a bad thing as long as they get the safety of pedestrians sorted out properly.

“It will mean more passing trade.”

She said conditions at the junction were a ‘nightmare’.

Some motorists suddenly turned into Sussex Street when they realised they couldn’t carry on along the High Street. Others just went past the no entry signs.

It was in April, 1998, the county council brought in the current arrangement on a temporary basis.

The scheme was made permanent in March 2001 and benefited from a £500,000 facelift in June 2003.

But the arrangement has attracted a lot of criticism over the years for the way it has been ignored.

Occasional crackdowns by the police have caught scores of law-breaking motorists.

Alternative

County councillor Paul Wells welcomed the fresh approach to the High Street.

“We have got to do something there,” he said. “We have got to resolve the issue of cars going through the pedestrian priority area of the High Street.”

He said an alternative to allowing one-way traffic along the High Street would be to close its central section to all traffic.

This could be achieved by opening up York Road, currently only accessible for taxis and deliveries from 7am-7pm, to all vehicles and moving the High Street bus stops into Belmont Street.

Their areas could be used for disabled parking spaces to remove the need for blue badge motorists to park in the precinct in early morning and late afternoon.