VOTE: Are you frustrated at the latest potential delays to building the Bognor Regis relief road?

Crucial talks are taking place about the future of the Bognor Regis relief road.

Barratt Developments is in discussion with the county council over the eastern section of the long-awaited route.

A company representative told a recent Felpham Parish Council meeting there could be a two year delay in completing the £26m road as a result of the negotiations.

This could push back its finishing date into the second half of the decade and lead to further frustrations of motorists stuck on the Bognor area’s already over-crowded roads.

Cllr George Blampied said at Tuesday’s parish council meeting: “There is a bit of an impasse between Barratt and the county council.

“This relates to the commuted sum, which is money payable to the county council for the upkeep of the road for ever more.

“But Barratt say they are paying £26m to build the road and that’s it. They don’t want to give any more.”

Cllr Mary Harvey said: “Barratt’s problem is that the county council will not ring-fence that money for repairs.

“They say the road is likely to need repairs after 30 years and the money will have been spent elsewhere.”

Cllr Geoff Farrell, the meeting’s acting chairman, said: “This is a bit of argy-bargy. Barratt is looking after the interests of its shareholders and the county council is looking after its interests.

“Something will be resolved from this. It is all just negotiations.”

A Barratt spokeswoman said outside the meeting: “Barratt Developments, which includes Barratt and David Wilson Homes, remains committed to the construction of the Bognor north relief road in accordance with the terms of the planning obligations.

“There is no delay on the construction of the new road and work is due to commence in the spring as planned. 

“Barratt Developments is planning to discuss the long-term maintenance funding with West Sussex County Council.”

A spokeswoman for the county council said: “West Sussex County Council is always happy to meet with and discuss emerging financial issues with developers particularly at such significant developments such as this.

“We are very happy to meet these developers in that vein to explore how the county council may be able to help.” The dispute concerns the maintenance of the single carriageway – first suggested in 1999 – between Flansham and the A29 Shripney Road.

The county council wants Barratt to pay enough to fund repairs for 120 years. But the housebuilder considers the demand an unfair burden.

It is considering going back to its original proposal for an embankment instead of a viaduct to take the road over the railway line to Bognor.

This will take two years longer to build because of the need to keep compacting the earth between the two concrete walls supporting the road until it can take the weight of the thousands of vehicles going over it daily.

Barratt says the cost of its section of the relief road is more than four times the £6m being paid by rival developers Berkeley and Persimmon Homes for their western half, from the A259 Chichester Road to Rowan Way.