LAST week’s floods and the disruption to the A259 in Felpham highlights the urgent and immediate need for more than ‘one road in and one road out’ of Felpham.
There is a solution – albeit one that will require councils and developers to work together.
Many people will remember that the new houses in Felpham and Bersted came about after a public enquiry into Arun District Council’s Local Plan – that was about 12 years ago.
The infrastructure part of it included not only a Bognor Regis relief road going east-west, but also a road going north-south.
That would have been between the Leisure Centre roundabout and the (new) Bognor Regis relief road.
Not only would it provide an additional ‘in and out’ for Felpham and for Bognor, it would provide an easy way in to new parking / drop-off zones for two schools: Downview Primary School (no more parking on crowded residential streets) and Felpham Community College.
A new north-south road was not insisted on by ADC nor WSCC because the developers were able to persuade those councils that adequate changes could be made to the A29 as it leaves Bognor on its tortuous way north.
So the developers did not have to fund a brand-new way in to Bognor.
I believe it is still listed as part of the overall plan and has not been rescinded.
Since then, of course, there have been many more demands put upon the road network around Bognor: for example an increase in the number of houses on Blakes Mead, additional capacity at Butlin’s, an expanded Tesco, and a new Sainsbury’s.
The argument that the new relief road will solve the problem is undercut by the fact that WSCC research at the time showed that only 30 per cent of the traffic using the A259 passes through – ie 70 per cent of the vehicles have business in greater Bognor; more so now with the four examples above.
The new houses in Felpham increase the number of houses in the parish by ten per cent. Add a few more per cent for natural growth in traffic and other new (infill) housing and you’ll see that the 30 per cent reduction will be quickly negated. Perhaps it’ll simply put us back to where we were ten years ago.
‘One road in and one road out’ might have been good enough many years ago – but not now that circumstances have changed.
The floods highlight the fragility of the local road network – and that missed opportunity 12 years ago.
It’s obvious to most people the two councils missed an opportunity.
It’s equally obvious that circumstances have changed to such a degree that an urgent and immediate review should be undertaken.
Roundle Square Road, Felpham