THE FELPHAM stretch of the relief road needs to be open by the end of 2015 to avoid letting Bognor Regis’ shops ‘suffer’ a bad Christmas - according to councillors.
This part of the Bognor Regis northern relief road will run from the A259 at Flansham to the A29 Shripney Road, and the project’s status was discussed at a Joint Western Arun Area Committee meeting last Wednesday night.
Councillors from both Arun District Council and West Sussex County Council argued that something needed to be done to bring the scheduled opening date, currently March 2016, forward to this year.
Paul English, an Arun district councillor for Felpham East, said: “If we can get this open before Christmas the help and assistance it will give to everybody in this area is paramount. I know residents are fed up to the back teeth.
“It’s up to us to find a solution, we can’t have a bad Christmas and let our shops suffer.”
County councillor Graham Jones apologised for ‘unfortunate remarks’ made at a recent Felpham Parish Council meeting, which was a ‘clear misunderstanding on my part’ over the reasons for the project’s hold-up.
He pledged to take up the parish council’s concerns with WSCC’s engineer and wanted to get everyone involved around the table to ‘trash out issues and misunderstandings’.
He added: “I want to see the relief road open and will work with all parties to make it happen.”
This week a spokesperson for West Sussex County Council said: “It is predicted the road will be ready to open to traffic in March 2016, as indicated at the recent parish council meeting.
“However, the developer has been asked to review the programme for completing the works to see if anything can be done to bring forward the opening. This is in progress and a decision in this respect will be made in the near future.
“Unfortunately, the road has not opened in line with earlier predictions for various reasons, including changes to the design, the road and viaduct structure not being able to be built simultaneously, adverse weather (wind) affecting the contractors’ ability to build the viaduct structure, in particular the installation of the concrete beams forming the viaduct deck and the works being much more complicated and time consuming to build than was originally anticipated.
“The county council, developer and contractors are continuing to work together to ensure the road is finished and opened to traffic at the earliest opportunity.”
The road is being built by Barratt Homes as part of its planning agreement for 700-plus new homes in Felpham.
Concerns were raised by parish councillors at a meeting earlier this month about the impact delays to the project were having on the level of traffic congestion in Felpham.
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