Highways concerns see plans deferred

Arun Civic Centre in Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, home of Arun District Council
Arun Civic Centre in Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, home of Arun District Council

Plans for 21 homes were put on hold after councillors questioned the safety of the scheme.

The development, at the Cottage, in Shripney Road, Bersted, attracted objections on safety grounds, with the access set to be onto the busy A29.

West Sussex County Council, which Arun District Council consults on highways matters when considering planning applications, raised no objection to the scheme before councillors last Wednesday.

But Arun’s development control committee echoed residents’ worries – and considered spending council cash to interrogate the highways experts’ lack of objection.

Addressing the committee, Bersted parish councillor Gill Yeates said: “The A29 is extremely busy at certain times. I think you can all see the potential danger, especially to children.

“Speed is a problem. There have been fatalities along the road in recent years.”

Tim Rodway, agent for the applicant, said the plans had been ‘meticulously and diligently’ designed, with no objections from the likes of the county council coupled with ‘significant benefits’ of the scheme.

Councillor Paul Wells said: “It is ludicrous that highways can’t say that area isn’t a problem.”

Councillors recognised they had difficulty overturning the view of the county council. Chairman Ricky Bower said: “Because we have some difficulty with the highways comments I am prepared to propose from the chair that we commission our own independent safety report on the access proposed here.”

“How much would that cost,” Mr Wells asked. Mr Bower said he could not be sure until quotes were received but estimated between £2,000 and £3,000.

Councillors deferred the plans so West Sussex County Council officers could meet at the site to discuss councillors’ concerns. No safety report was ordered.