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Waste claims to prompt investigation

By Kevin Smith


Reports that chemical waste is being poured down drains along Bognor Regis seafront are to be given to environmental health officers.


Cllr Hugh Coster, of Arun District Council, said he would pass on the information after it was highlighted by Marine Drive West residents.


The members of the Marine Drive West Residents’ Action Group to have a traffic regulation order imposed on the road to stop overnight parking by camper van owners was rejected by county councillors.


Mr John Wiltshire, of the group, told county, district and parish council members of the Joint Western Arun Area Committee it wanted to see the restriction brought in ‘because of the disposal of chemical waste down the storm drains’ by those who parked along the road overnight.


As well as pollution, a fire risk also existed from the gas canisters used by the camper van owners.


But the committee was told by Mr Ben Whiffin, West Sussex County Council’s area highways manager, the request failed to meet the criteria set for a traffic regulation order to be granted.


The situation only ranked six points on the list of criteria which needed to be met against a cut-off of 10 points. But Cllr Coster (I, Aldwick E) said the waste would be going out to sea to cause pollution.


“The matter of the environmental waste is something the district council can look at and I will deal with that because it is within my ward,” he said. “I think Southern Water will also take an interest in that as well.”


Cllr Jacky Pendleton, Conservative county councillor for Middleton, said: “If there is chemical waste which is going into the drains, and that goes out to sea, that is a matter for Arun’s environmental health department, though it is not a highways matter.”


Six months ago, residents met county highways officers and Nick Gibb, the town’s MP at the time, to raise their concerns about the situation and call for the ban on overnight parking along the seafront road.


But a traffic regulation order for Westloats Lane in Bognor Regis was backed by the committee on Wednesday.


This scored 16 points on the county council’s criteria. Cllr David Edwards, whose Bersted division includes the road, said Applegate Way’s residents had compiled a petition to call for action to stop parking at roads’ junction.


He said: “I am 100 per cent in support of this. People park across the exit from Applegate Way blocking the view. Bearing in mind The Regis School is there, there is a lot of traffic going up and down.”


Conservative Cllr Jacky Pendleton (Middleton) said: “This is an essential order. It’s good we can go ahead with it.”


She said she hoped the county council’s financial situation improved and more traffic problems highlighted by residents could be tackled by traffic regulation orders.


A further two requests were unable to be considered by the committee because they only mustered eight points each.


They were for Dukes Road, Aldingbourne, for a 30mph speed limit and a cut from a 30mph limit in Middleton’s Sea Lane to 20mph.


“None of us likes this. It’s very difficult having to refuse orders,” said Cllr Mrs Pendleton. “However, when the funding is not there, there is nothing else to do.


“There’s no other way at the moment. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that things might ease over the next couple of years. Obviously, we are in straitened circumstances at the moment but I always live in hope and hope we will get improved resources.”


Mr Whiffin told the committee it would cost some £1,300 to put in the signs and lining need to put a traffic regulation order in place along Marine Drive West.


But legal costs to ensure the order could be enforced would be £7,500.


Cllr Paul English (C, Felpham E), of Arun District Council, said: “Not that long ago, that cost was £3,500. It’s doubled. If it’s the county council’s legal team doing the work, there has to be a review.”

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