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Business group seeking action

Improving the safety of North Bersted shop users is a priority of a new group.


The Bersted Shops Business Forum Group has been set up by new parish councillor Rob Outen.


He said he was hopeful its first success would be to replace a concrete bollard. This had been installed outside Royals fish and chips bar in Royal Parade.


It stopped motorists being able to take a short cut between the junctions of Central Avenue and Chichester Road by using the layby for the businesses. But it has been missing for some time.


Cllr Outen told his fellow councillors business owners were concerned this could lead to a serious accident.


“This means that cars are mounting the pavement, driving over the corner to get to the other side of the road.


“One car has hit the shop front and there are elderly people and young people walking around there to the shops and from the schools,” he said.


He had met the area’s district councillors, Martin Lury and Gill Yeates, who had agreed the problem needed to be tackled.


West Sussex county councillor David Edwards had also visited the site and backed the case. It had been referred to the council’s highways officers for action.


“Everyone at the county council agrees that there’s a problem there that needs to be fixed,” Cllr Outen told this month’s Bersted Parish Council meeting.


The response to the situation had pleased those with businesses in the parade, which was built in 1932.


“They are delighted that the matter is moving forward, though I don’t know at what speed yet,” Cllr Outen said.


“It is a health and safety problem and it is going to be addressed.”


Cllr Outen, who joined the council last May, told the meeting he believed the forum would help to support traders who provided a valuable service to the area’s residents.


“I spoke to the 11 or 12 shopkeepers there and they are quite keen on the forum. They thought it was long overdue. No-one has had the opportunity to pull everyone together. I took it upon myself to look into that. That is where we are.”


Another of the businesses’ top concerns was anti-social behaviour and drug-taking around the parade.


Cllr Outen is making enquiries to find the owner of the land where much of the alleged activity takes place to find out if it can be made secure.


In all, the firms’ owners came up with eight points of general concern they would like the forum to tackle, he said.


A social media group to connect the businesses has been set up.


His suggestion the forum would meet four times a year at the council’s Bersted Jubilee Hall was backed by fellow parish councillors. The date of the first meeting has yet to be agreed.


Cllr Outen will be one of the forum’s members, along with the parish council’s chairman, Cllr Brian Knight.


District councillors Yeates and Lury will also be members.

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