Drivers caught in latest crackdown

MOTORISTS have been targeted in the latest police action against those who drive through Bognor Regis town centre.

Twelve drivers were caught by police in just two days as they motored along the High Street in defiance of the general ban on vehicles.

The news of the police clampdown came as town councillors informally said they did not want to see the road opened up again to everyday traffic.

Sergeant Neal Harvey said the action was taken in two days recently. The first saw eight motorists stopped by police officers. This was followed by four the next day.

Those targeted turned right out of Sudley Road, drove through the High Street’s pedestrian priority area and turned right into Bedford Street. All three actions were banned.

“I know people driving through the High Street is dangerous,” he told the town council on Monday, “and I will deal with it when I see it. I do listen to complaints about it.”

For some 15 years, the central area of the High Street has been a no entry zone to motorists. They are barred from going beyond Sussex Street or Bedford Street from either direction.

Only buses and emergency services vehicles are allowed through the road’s portion between the London Road precinct and The Arcade.

But disabled drivers are able to reach the precinct before 11am and after 4.30pm.

The intention of ending the High Street as a thoroughfare was to create a more shopper-friendly environment. But the scheme has been dogged by frequent abuses in spite of occasional police actions.

Steve Goodheart used the town council meeting to repeat his call for the High Street to be part of a one-way system with The Esplanade.

“The vibrancy of the High Street has disappeared,” he said. “There is very little happening in there other than watching it become a bus station.

“Using it for a one-way system with The Esplanade is a no brainer.”

But councillor Roger Nash (L, Pevensey) said he believed the High Street should remain closed to vehicles as county councillors had agreed.

“Opening it up to traffic again will be an absolute disaster.

“The town centre improvements will be extending all the way to the seafront. To break them up with traffic flowing along would be illogical as well as increasing the danger of accidents,” he said.

The problem with the High Street was the poor signs and lack of consistent policing.

Cllr Adam Cunard (I, Pevensey) said a one-way system in Clacton trapped motorists for up to an hour around its town centre.