Memorandum by West Sussex County Council
INTEGRATED TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER
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
A J Lovell
22 September 1998