THERE is plenty of evidence to show that reducing congestion is a key component in the regeneration of town centres.
Indeed, the West Sussex Local Transport Plan supports this approach: “we will make certain that all new schemes and developments contribute and support in some way to... increasing use of sustainable modes of transport [and] reducing the need to travel”. However, as the county council’s attitude to this development shows, this policy is not supported by consistent and sustained investment.
Worthing urgently needs a coherent transport plan to support regeneration by reducing congestion. This needs to cover all new developments. The piecemeal transport assessment of each individual new development is storing up problems for the future.
The main problem with the Teville Gate development is it is financially dependent on a supermarket operator that is demanding 400 car parking spaces.
The local need for a supermarket in this area is debatable. That the supermarket is determining local transport policy should not be acceptable. We should be quite clear that the supermarket operator is calling the shots, for “the applicant has clearly stated [to West Sussex County Council] that the proposed supermarket operator would not be prepared to accept restricted traffic movements for commercial reasons”.
As a result, the current proposal will increase the economic costs of road congestion, with consequent increases in the health costs associated with poor air quality and the environmental costs of increased greenhouse gas emissions. It can be guaranteed that the community will be picking up those costs, not the developers or the supermarket operator.
The pity of this is that Teville Gate is ideally situated for a low impact development.
Indeed, a “zero carbon” development could put Worthing on the map for all the right reasons. It would not generate the same level of benefits claimed by the current proposal, but as an investment for future generations it could lay claim to long-term sustainability.