Traffic improvement plans taking shape in Petworth town centre

The confusing signs just outside Petworth''Picture by Louise Adams C140184-3 Mid BTH Lorries ENGSUS00120141002170441
The confusing signs just outside Petworth''Picture by Louise Adams C140184-3 Mid BTH Lorries ENGSUS00120141002170441

A special working party is forging ahead with proposals to improve traffic and public transport in Petworth.

The traffic group, set up by Petworth Town Council, is led by Jim Scallon, who told a full meeting on Thursday that the top eight traffic proposals had already been discussed with West Sussex County Council’s highways officers.

He said the highest priority was to improve HGV routing and signage in the town to try and end the nightmare of congestion and large lorries being stuck in the narrow town centre streets.

“We have been told the round ‘7.5 tonne’ sign has to remain but the triangular advisory signs can be altered and the working group is discussing them with a consultant to go back to highways with a firm proposal.”

The town council is hoping to use ‘community improvement schemes’ to install a crossing to the refurbished sports ground in Petworth Park and a crossing by the church and the Petworth House entrance.

“We have put this as a high priority as so many people cross the road here to the church and the National Trust entrance,” said Mr Scallon. “We have been told the only option would be to have a ‘dropped crossing’ at the bend directing pedestrians to a marked point.”

But desperately needed traffic calming in North Street, where residents have long called for action to slow vehicles and reduce noise, could prove more difficult.

“We knew this would not be easy,” Mr Scallon told the meeting, “and highways officers say making any changes in North Street is going to be difficult to implement.

“There are significant obstacles. They say there are no records of accidents and we are going to need evidence to make a proposal that would have any chance of being approved.”

Highways officers have, however, been more supportive of the town council’s plans for ‘Gateway’ improvements to the town and the group is now drawing up firm proposals.