Thank you for featuring my motion to the county council in the Observer. I would be grateful if you would allow me to clarify the reasoning behind this proposal for 20’s Plenty in Worthing.
In the briefing note to councillors, it is made clear WSCC cannot (or at least doesn’t have the political will) to use any of the £2.6m for anything other than ‘additional road maintenance’, as specified by the Department for Transport.
So much for localism and the end of top-down government? Especially given the Worthing 20’s Plenty campaign has cross-party support from the locally-elected borough council.
The problem with WSCC’s transport spending? In total 89 per cent goes on roads, ten per cent on building more of them and 76 per cent on maintaining them, and less than two per cent on safety, despite the fact WSCC’s annual road casualty costs amount to £157m!
The alternatives to motoring – for the 25 per cent of West Sussex households who don’t have a car and the 40 per cent or so of the population including children who don’t own driving licences – get next to nothing:
- Less than two per cent for public transport;
- Two per cent for cycling (or less than one per cent if you take out the Shoreham foot/cycle bridge);
- Six per cent for footways.
WSCC continues to spend £250,000 on ‘safer routes to schools’ (improved crossing points, a few dropped kerbs and bollards right outside some of the county’s schools – hardly a route to school!) and school safety zones (unenforceable intermittent 20mph and some anti-skid to help the motorists who haven’t bothered slowing down).
This would have paid for 20’s Plenty for Worthing and Chichester – improving safety for not just children, but pedestrians, older people, the disabled and cyclists across the whole of both towns at
all times of day.
Until WSCC starts spending some of the main budget on sustainable transport, we will continue to suffer not just the £157m road casualty costs, but also the £187m physical inactivity costs every year, and we will continue to encourage more congestion, pollution, noise and danger.
chairman of the Worthing County
county councillor for Tarring division
The Strand, Worthing