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Over £1.7million spent improving Crawley and West Sussex roads, cycle ways and paths

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Eleven projects, representing more than £1.7million worth of improvements, were completed, or nearly completed, by West Sussex Highways just before the Coronavirus lockdown started.

Areas benefiting from the schemes include in Ansty, Barns Green, Bognor Regis, Crawley, East Grinstead, Felpham, Pyecombe, Slaugham, Thakeham, Westhampnett and Wisborough Green.

Roger Elkins, Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said:

“The 11 projects represent a significant investment in our highway network and will benefit a wide range of people, including pedestrians, cyclists, bus users and horse riders.

“It was great to see the projects delivered on time and we look forward to this year’s improvements programme being delivered with equal success, while recognising the current challenges Coronavirus presents.”

Lloyd Allen, Contracts Manager of principal contractor Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP), said how pleased BBLP were to have been involved in this series of successful projects, and looked forward to working with West Sussex County Council in the future.

New slant on pedestrian crossing conundrum
A diagonal pedestrian crossing – a ‘first’ for West Sussex – has been installed in Thakeham. Some residents, schools, councillors and local parish councils had expressed concern about the lack of safe crossing options at the Water Lane/Thakeham Road mini roundabout junction.

Narrow stretches of road and pavement, plus poor visibility in places, meant there was no simple way to significantly improve pedestrian safety there. Standard Puffin and Zebra crossings were rejected because they would have meant placing them very near the mini roundabout, which would have been unsafe, while placing them further away would have put pedestrians at risk if they were tempted to take a short cut and did not use them correctly.

West Sussex Highways engineers devised a solution, including: changing the mini roundabout to a fully traffic-light controlled junction; a dedicated pedestrian crossing phase on both the northern and eastern ‘arms’; an option to use a diagonal crossing for pedestrians going east to west: this is the first use of its kind in West Sussex and enables more pedestrians to clear the junction without having to wait for the next cycle of ‘green man’ time.    

The traffic lights use the latest software to ‘read’ traffic conditions, changing signal timings to minimise queues. Thermal imaging cameras adjust timings to ensure pedestrians have sufficient time to cross.

The opportunity was also taken to deal with a number of potholes – through resurfacing large areas of road – and to widen and resurface some of the footways.

The works are estimated to have cost about £340,000, with £161,000 of this coming from local development funds (Section 106 funds) and £179,000 from central government grant.

Strategic route to improvements for cyclists and pedestrians
West Sussex Walking and Cycling Strategy identified Ifield Avenue in Crawley as a key route for cycling improvements. Now, a 1.2km-long shared use cycleway and footway has just been constructed along the north-east side from Ifield Drive junction to the rugby club entrance.

The majority of the shared-use path is 3m wide and raised junction crossings have also been built at each of the three junctions the path crosses. These are intended to raise driver awareness of cyclists and pedestrians at these junctions and improve safety. The county council funded project is largely complete, with remaining work including fencing and replanting. Total cost: approximately £400,000.

Cyclists, pedestrians and bus users benefit from improvement scheme
A 1km-long, shared use cycleway and footway has been built along the south side of Stane Street in Westhampnett. Three new bus shelters have also been provided for the parish.

The project is largely complete, with remaining work including some fencing and a small amount of tactile paving to be installed. Total cost: approximately £350,000, funded from developer contributions (Section 106 funds).

Two-wheeled, two-legged… and even four-legged friends benefit
Highways engineers are used to building improvement schemes for four and two-wheeled vehicles, but not often for those on four legs: this was the challenge facing engineers, tasked with improving a crossing point for walkers, cyclists and horse riders on the South Downs Way.

West Sussex Highways improved waiting areas to accommodate equestrians, cyclists and walkers on each side of the A273 at Clayton Hill, Pyecombe.

Other improvements were: signage to alert drivers to the possible dangers of riders and walkers crossing; the bridleway southward was widened and resurfaced; bridleway drainage has been added to maintain a good surface, and a high-friction surface has been installed on the carriageway itself. The scheme cost a total of about £50,000.

North meets south in Barns Green
A footway has been built, linking the northern and southern ends of Barns Green village and creating a safer environment for pedestrians.

Before the 275m stretch of path was constructed, pedestrians had to walk from one end of the village to the other either on a potentially muddy verge or in the carriageway. The new footway will benefit residents, school children, public transport users and people visiting and staying at Sumners Ponds and has attracted several positive comments from the public.

Road repair work and significant improvements to the carriageway drainage system were also carried out while the project was ongoing to avoid the need for further disruption at a later date.

The project cost a total of about £130,000 and was funded by the County’s Community Highway Scheme budget.

Improvements for pedestrians in Ansty
Following a request from the local community, improvements have been made for pedestrians in the village. In many places, footways had become overgrown and surfaces were breaking up. Also, with new housing, there is increased demand for facilities for pedestrians in different parts of the village. 

Works included resurfacing and widening existing footpaths, new sections of footway on the approach to the village hall and improvements to crossing points on the main roads. Total cost: approximately £80,000

20mph limit installed in Felpham
The works finalised the installation of a parish-wide 20mph speed limit and included signage, some roundels painted on road surfaces, plus two pairs of speed cushions (mini speed humps) to help reduce traffic speeds in Summerley Lane. All roads, with exception of main through roads, now have a signed 20mph speed limit. The project was at the request of the parish council, supported by the county councillor, and funded from developer contributions (Section 106 funds). Total cost: approximately £50,000.

Boost for pedestrians and cyclists in Imberhorne Lane, East Grinstead
Recently-completed works are designed to help pedestrians cross the road from the new housing development and to slow traffic in Imberhorne Lane. Contractors installed two one-way road narrowings, both with a cycle ‘bypass’ feature to aid cycle safety.

One of the road narrowings can also be used by pedestrians when crossing the road. Coloured surfacing and new road signs highlight the presence of crossing points. Whilst on site, the opportunity was taken to cut back overgrown vegetation and clear some footpaths in the area. Total cost: approximately £65,000, funded from developer contributions (Section 106 funds).

Traffic-calming installed, Frith Road, Bognor Regis
Following requests from the community, and supported by the parish council and county councillor, additional traffic-calming measures have been installed in Frith Road. The speed cushions (mini speed humps) and raised table junction will help slow traffic in this 20mph area which is also on the access route to two schools and the leisure centre. Total cost: approximately £80,000.

Traffic “slow down” measures in Slaugham, Pease Pottage, Warninglid and Handcross
A series of measures have been devised to remind drivers to slow down on the approach to settlements across this area. The project was in response to a parish council request and features installed include new gateways, signing and road markings. A section of footway has also been resurfaced and improved for pedestrians. Additional, interactive, “slow down” signs are due to be installed soon. Total cost: approximately £170,000, funded from developer contributions (Section 106 funds).Footway improvements Durbans Road area, Wisborough Green
The parish council requested help in improving footways around the village green. Works included refurbishing existing footways, providing new footways and extending a parking bay. New dropped-kerb crossing points have been provided and areas of poor road surface have been repaired. Total cost: approximately £60,000

Business

Over £2m given to Crawley Council for discretionary business grants

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Eligible Crawley businesses can now apply for discretionary business grants.

The government has given the council £2,248,180 in Additional Restrictions Grant, which is given to businesses that have been affected by the lockdown but are not legally required to close.

This funding lasts until March 2022 and is based on £20 per person in Crawley rather than the number of businesses in the town.

Eligible businesses are those who:

  • Are not entitled to Local Restriction Support Grants, and
  • Were open and trading the day before national restrictions were imposed (Wednesday 4 November), and
  • Are now required to close under national restrictions or, while not legally forced to close, are severely impacted by the restrictions.

Applications for the Additional Restrictions Grant can now be made at grantapproval.co.uk

There are different types of grants based on the rateable value of property/property costs or business type.

Businesses can check if they’re eligible for the Additional Restrictions Grant by visiting gov.uk/guidance/check-if-youre-eligible-for-the-coronavirus-additional-restrictions-grant

There is further guidance and a copy of the West Sussex countywide policy on the council’s website. The scheme will close on Sunday 13 December and the aim is to make payments as soon as possible after that.

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said:

“While we haven’t been allocated enough funding to help every local business, we will do everything we can to support as many Crawley businesses as possible.

“If you need support please get in touch via the council’s dedicated webpage.”

Applications for the Local Restriction Support Grant opened on 17 November. Businesses forced to close by the second lockdown can apply for this grant at grantapproval.co.uk For more details on help available for businesses visit crawley.gov.uk/emergency/coronavirus-information/businesses-and-employers

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