LETTER: Chocolate teapot

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It is sad to read that proposals to address the accident black spot at Comet Corner have foundered.

It seems that area committees have become a pointless waste of time and are little more than a talking shop through which West Sussex County Council and Arun District Council councillors can posture and sound important, yet achieve absolutely nothing.

As an example, back in 2004 Ford Enterprise Hub (FEH) submitted proposals to the Joint Downland Area Committee (JDAC) that would have resolved the accident black spots at the Comet Corner and Oystercatcher junctions.

FEH proposed a third and additional route to/from the A27 for Bognor Regis, starting with a roundabout on the A259 at Comet Corner, bridging the railway line at Ford, and joining the proposed route of the Arundel Bypass, thereby connecting Bognor Regis to the Strategic Road Network (SRN) in the east (the A24 and A23 – both of which are dual carriageway).

The intention was to improve access between Bognor Regis and the A27 by spreading existing and new traffic over three routes rather than the current two and at the same time resolving two major accident black spots.

This was to be paid for by using brownfield land at Ford Airfield for housing.

In April 2005, JDAC, acting under delegated powers from West Sussex County Council and Arun District Council passed the following resolution: “the committee note the contents of the paper and is anxious to see proper consideration given to the opportunities which it presents for a pro-active approach to land-use and transport planning west of the River Arun in the approach to a new Local Development Framework, the County Transport Plan and the Sub-Regional Strategy for Coastal Sussex.”

Needless to say, West Sussex County Council and Arun District Council completely ignored this resolution from an Area Committee acting under delegated powers.

Meanwhile, people risk their safety at these junctions on a daily basis, whilst West Sussex County Council and Arun District Council councillors continue to grandstand for public consumption with unfunded and weak “solutions” – we all remember the press releases telling us how wonderful they were when these plans were first announced.

I have come to the conclusion that Area Local Committees (JDAC and JWAAC in particular) are about as much use as a chocolate teapot, and, if they do actually attempt to do something useful, it will be ignored by those who continually put party politics ahead of local needs.

Tony Dixon

Barons Close

Westergate

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