Councils clash about funds for road works

A £1M row has broken out between councils about a busy crossroads in Middleton.

The argument has occurred over how the seven-figure sum from developers is put towards road works in the area.

Felpham Parish Council’s chairman Paul English, this week accused the neighbouring councils of Yapton and Middleton of wanting to snatch most of the money to spend on the A259 Comet Corner junction.

He said: “To suggest that over £800,000 is lost by Felpham for its own considered and needed improvements in one area when it certainly appears the councils around it have done little to help themselves is immoral and disgraceful.”

He accused Middleton and Yapton parish councils of producing ‘biased and selfish’ information to support their case.

His anger has been prompted by an article written by Yapton Parish Council clerk David Tansley in this month’s parish newsletter.

Mr Tansley stated: “One can understand the desire of politicians to be seen to fight for their own corner, particularly as the ‘windfall’ funding for these highway improvements arose close to home – from the new housing development being built at Felpham – but are they really that callous and inconsiderate of the needs of others?”

He described Felpham’s wishlist of improvements on which to spend the money as mainly cosmetic.

“The importance of undertaking improvements to the junction at Comet Corner has long been recognised,” he wrote.

“Politically it is a difficult decision and one which could have a magnitude of consequences. We must hope that the right decision will be made. What price a life?”

The campaign to improve Comet Corner gathered strength in August, 2003, after a Middleton man died in an accident there.

Some work has been carried out but, as previously reported, Middleton and Yapton councils, which are connected by the junction, want traffic lights there. These will cost some £800,000.

The only ready source of money is the £1m from the developers of the site six housing in Felpham.

Cllr English said Felpham had cut its spending plans for the money to £650,000 to make travelling on its roads safer when all the vehicles from the new housing would be using them.

These schemes included speed calming on Downview Road, 20mph limits in two Home Zones on the village’s side roads, changing lane markings on the A259 Felpham Way and a new junction at the A259 Flansham Lane and Flansham Park. Police reports showed these tended to be accident hotspots.

He said Comet Corner was no longer the main area for accidents after speed controls were put in place.