The Coughlan report into the appalling failure of child care services confirms major shortcomings that are echoed in relation to other areas of West Sussex County Council activity.
In particular, the council has failed to implement its 2011-26 Transport Plan relating to the upgrade of the A27. The council has instead chosen to promote the indefensible through the art of obfuscation and the incurring of substantial and avoidable costs.
Looking ahead, new leadership at County Hall is very welcome. Previous unsubstantiated ideological aspirations have to be turned into real-world deliverables for the benefit of all Chichester residents. We need to fix what we have and that is a good dual- carriageway but with poor junctions.
The old mantra of more road building to offset congestion is now widely challenged by solid evidence.
Put simply, more new roads equals more traffic equals more pollution equals more climate change. Locally, we must contribute to delivering net-zero carbon emissions in a sustainable way which is incompatible with building new roads.
Emissions from congestion can be reduced through a mix of smart traffic management, changing vehicle technology and junction engineering solutions. Evidence shows that this is cost-effective, can be implemented incrementally, creates close links with train/bus interchanges, complies with policies and addresses the Chichester District Council Local Plan requirements.
UK Infrastructure spending is now predicted to drift from the south to the Midlands and north of England. We therefore need to focus on green retrofitting the roads we have to make roads fit for a 21st century environment. Journey reliability and not faster journey times is what matters.
The stated values of BABA27, that any submission to Highways England needs to be evidence-based, reality-checked and robustly scrutinised, must not be ignored again. The fracas surrounding the council’s submission to Highways England on June 21, 2018, after two years of quasi consultation and subsequently the purported legal costs in endeavouring to defend the indefensible must not be repeated.
Pook Lane Lavant