LETTER: Money could be better spent

During last week’s meeting of the Joint Western Arun Area Committee we were privileged in having the newly appointed West Sussex County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, Bob Lanzer in attendance.

He fielded questions from the committee and the general public.

Unsurprisingly the subject of Comet Corner and safety concerns on the A259 were raised. Being so new to post Bob could not give detailed answers but he was able to go away knowing the strength of feeling expressed.

Finding the money for schemes such as the Comet Corner improvements is a problem for all who are involved in local government.

Faced with ever decreasing funding it is getting more difficult to deliver on expectations with more reliance being placed on developers’ contributions towards infrastructure improvements in order to mitigate against the impact their developments have on the community.

Developers’ contributions are known as Section 106 agreements and are negotiated during the planning phase.

These contributions are to be replaced by the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).

Both these schemes are heavily governed by National Policy and Regulations.

The money cannot be used to fix existing problems on the highway network. It is important to demonstrate that a new development will impact sufficiently on the highway network for works

to commence.

In 2003 the county council adopted the Total Access Demand (TAD) policy. This policy allowed for the county council to consider the wider transport impacts of developments in an area whilst at the same time complying with regulations. In effect this would allow for the pooling of developer funding for larger infrastructure projects.

All the borough and district councils except Arun District Council bought in to TAD and they have benefited since its introduction. Residents may wish to consider why ADC did not sign up to TAD.

I do not know that answer but I find it extraordinary that ADC did not do so given the benefits of TAD.

The irony is that S106 or CIL money generated north of the A259 has not been made available for improvements at Comet Corner despite calls for this to happen from residents living in the Yapton area. Added to that, money from the Integrated Works Program (IWP) has not been made available from the Joint Downland Area Committee for works at Comet Corner.

It would seem that any funding available has to

come from JWAAC.

With TAD in place there would have been a greater opportunity to fully fund the works at Comet Corner and the Oystercatcher junction. Instead we see S106 money being wasted on a few electronic information signs at bus stops and play equipment in Yapton.

As nice as these projects are for the community some would call these vanity projects and go nowhere to solving the congestion problems on the A259.

Graham Jones

West Sussex County Councillor for Felpham,

Manor Way

Elmer