As district and county councillors for Horsham Park ward, we receive many comments and complaints about traffic and parking issues in our area.
We take all of these very seriously and work with the Highways department of West Sussex County Council and with the police to try to find solutions.
Recent problems of speeding have been reported in Orchard Road, New Street, Depot Road, Bennetts Road and Elm Grove. Parking is a particular concern in New Street, Oakhill Road, Park Terrace East, Parkside Mews, Barrington Road, Comptons Lane and the Norfolk Road area, among many other locations. A proposed solution for Comptons Lane, by The Forest School, is out for consultation but is causing some concern.
Residents are calling for action such as traffic calming to prevent accidents after recent problems in New Street and Orchard Road. There are also concerns about the safety of pedestrians crossing from Horsham station to Hurst Road. The challenge for us is to find solutions which meet the requirements of traffic regulations, are acceptable to the majority of residents and enforceable.
To a certain extent, the large number of parked cars acts as traffic calming and should slow down the traffic, although insufficient passing places can lead to drivers racing to the next gap.
We could propose an area to be subject to a 20’s Plenty scheme if enough residents ask for this. However, if a driver is not paying attention to the 30 mph limit, they will almost certainly ignore a 20 mph limit! The issue is catching them and issuing them with a penalty.
Streets can be redesigned to physically inhibit speeding, but this requires considerable investment and can create other difficulties for residents, such as increased traffic noise or changes to parking locations. There are also problems with large vehicles using some of the residential roads that are not designated as lorry routes, possibly to avoid the low bridge. It may be that sat-nav systems are directing vehicles down some roads which are not suitable.
There are plenty of examples on the internet of how other communities are working to solve these problems. A good starting point is www.homezones.org, which has recommendations and experiences from other areas. This also includes cost guidelines to help with developing schemes.
Opportunity exists under the Localism Act for the community to come together to prepare a neighbourhood plan which can include traffic management. Neighbourhood councils can help to initiate this process.
In one area, the plan includes the objectives that pedestrians should feel safe and footpaths should be improved, vehicle speeds should be reduced, through traffic should be reduced and maintained at low levels, the net numbers of cars should not increase, there should be good access to town and countryside, and public transport links should be maintained and improved.
The plan shows the actions they will be taking to achieve this. Once a plan is approved by a local referendum, it becomes a legal requirement.
For Horsham Park, most of the same objectives could apply, with the addition that there should be good cycle routes. We could make this happen here if enough people come forward to form a forum and we would support such an initiative. If you wish to be involved in this, please contact us or the neighbourhood councils.