Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by West Sussex County Council (IT 70)


  The Highways and Transport Committee of this authority met on Friday 18 September and had before it a report on the Integrated Transport White Paper.

  The lengthy debate which ensued welcomed many aspects of the White Paper. However, the Committee did have several points of concern and resolved that these be forwarded to the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Select Committee.

  The matters which our Committee wished in particular to draw to the attention of the Select Committee were as follows:

  1. The White Paper is welcomed, but puts a great deal of responsibility on local authorities without any immediate legislation or funding to back it up.

  2. There is little in the White Paper for Central Government to address co-ordination between Government Departments regarding policies which have transport implications. The Highways and Transport Committee were particularly concerned about access to Health and Education facilities. For example, closure of local hospitals can mean journeys outside the local catchment area which may not be readily served by public transport. Again, given the amount of books, games kit and sundries, such as musical instruments that secondary school pupils have to carry nowadays makes a walk of up to three miles quite unreasonable. The alternative is, very often, that they are taken by car!

  3. Planning Policy Guidance and Planning Regulations need to be amended to reflect the new policy framework and to allow more flexible use of development generated funds.

  4. There is a need for a regional (or sub-regional) approach to issues such as congestion charging and taxation of private non-residential parking otherwise competition between neighbouring towns and authorities will inhibit the development of demand management techniques.

  5. The use of the private financing initiative (PFI) is not suitable for smaller scale projects aimed at promoting integrated transport and has so far failed to deliver any local authority highway schemes.

  6. The production of a countywide local transport plan will be very resource intensive and will involve different sub-plans to reflect the varying nature of different areas across the County. A sensible timescale is, therefore, needed in which to develop such plans.

  7. Is SERPLAN adequately structured and resources to deal with matters raised for its attention in Roads Review and what priority will SERPLAN be able to give these issues?

  The Committee also considered a report on the recent Trunk Roads Review. Whilst acknowledging that "predict and provide" is no longer the justification for road schemes, it was concerned about the state of the trunk road network serving West Sussex. In particular, there are unimproved and other sections under pressure on the A27 at Worthing/Lancing, Arundel and Chichester and on the A23 at Warninglid/Handcross. These have associated accident and severance problems and all fall into the category of "further studies", but no priorities or start dates are given. Furthermore, if road proposals were to emerge, they are not likely to be constructed for at least seven years, given that this is the period for starting those schemes already programmed.

  Having said this, it was agreed at a transport conference we held earlier this month on the 7 September that there was a need to address road and rail issues in an integrated approach. The conference had invited representatives from a wide range of organisations across Sussex and produced useful input to our forthcoming transport policy review.

  I hope that these comments will be useful to the Select Committee in its deliberations later this year. If it was thought that presentation of oral evidence on the above matters would be helpful, I am sure that we would give an invitation serious consideration.

A J Lovell

County Surveyor

22 September 1998

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