Your article about the uncertain future of the gated railway-road level crossing on the A284 between Wick and Lyminster (Gazette, January 22) has again brought about unwelcome confusion.
The local and business community have reason to be alarmed by the current attitude taken between a council officer and councillors at the recent Arun District Council cabinet meeting. It seems that county council representative Daniel Del thinks he knows what is best for the users of the public highway. He persists in the quest for adequate, belated funding for the official Lyminster bypass project, now geared to the North Littlehampton development through pre-tested channels.
Perhaps, before his day at the helm, the vision at that time gave notice that such a development and other nearby vast housing strategies would adequately cement the cost of the bypass. Obviously, this assurance has now been found to be insecure, as the county highway authority had not taken due account of the £9.25 million now estimated to be the cost.
Seemingly, in a recent effort to balance the commitment in an attempt to cover its failure, a rescue mission for the odd £1 million has been presented to Network Rail. Quite rightly, a sum of this nature requires a substantial benefit, such as complete removal of the crossing point. We now learn that Network Rail has rejected this proposal, as it was now tied in with the cost of providing a token high level footbridge in its place.
Why the officers are continuing this line of attention in the face of public representation deserves question. In a recent consultation exercise it was evident the Network Rail representative felt uncomfortable about the possibility of closure, not only at this place but also over the less contentious site further down the line at Toddington. Many of those present contended their local trips would be subjected to long detours in traffic congestion.
Vehicular access to local supermarkets and the proposed enterprise hub (more so if replaced by a medical centre), would recoil on the amenity of the area. Access to the new housing and public transport would be confined to other roads.
The present confusion will persist unless councils stop vacillating and give clear, immediate direction to their staff. This, together with a brief which balances existing facilities with the new, rather than any reduction in capacity, should utilise traffic management resources combined with HGV controls. Please remember, we are now in the era of local decision- taking.
Derek Hulmes, town councillor
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