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Community News & Views | Council Officers Learn Their Lesson

‘Lessons have been learned’ after delivery of the Bognor Regis to Littlehampton cycle path took 15 months longer and cost £1.2m more than planned.

 

This was the reaction from officers at West Sussex County Council after councillors asked them to review how the scheme had been conceived, funded and delivered.

 

Members of the environment, communities and fire select committee heard the council had been told in 2014 that the cycle path would cost £865,000 to design and build and it could be done in a year. With the money secured from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (C2C LEP), the scheme was approved – but it became clear more money was needed.

 

When C2C LEP rejected the idea, it fell to the council to fork out £1.2m. The scheme took two years and three months to deliver, including nine months of construction, and cost just over £2m.

 

At a County Hall meeting, officers were asked why no alarm bells had sounded early on when it became apparent the scheme had been costed at a much cheaper rate than similar ones elsewhere.

 

Cllr Jacky Pendleton (C, Middleton) said the number of cyclists travelling the route had increased now they had a safe place to ride.

 

But she was critical of the way traffic had been controlled during the construction, particularly around three sets of traffic lights.

 

Cllr Mrs Pendleton said: “There was no co-ordination of traffic flow through those traffic lights, creating a stop-start, stop-start, stop-start process which challenged the most patient of drivers.”

 

She also questioned the ‘lack of communication’ from the council when it came to keeping the public up to date.

 

Cllr Roger Elkins, the cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “I’m sure the issues that have been outlined will absolutely be addressed, and I will be looking at officers and be keeping a close watch on this.”

 

Report by Karen Dunn, local democracy reporter

Posted in Letters.