Pier Road in Littlehampton closure could be made permanent – but not this year

Thursday, 31 March 2022 07:42

By Jessica Hubbard - Local Democracy Reporter

A temporary road closure in Littlehampton which was brought in to aid social distancing, could soon take place every year following a consultation but won’t return this year

A section of Pier Road was first closed to vehicles and cyclists between August and September 2020. This followed concerns that pedestrians and shoppers were having to ‘walk into the road to maintain social distancing’.

Another closure took place between May and the end of September last year.

But the road will not be closed again this year as the council said organising a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) would be ‘problematic’.

This is so the council can undertake a public consultation following some concerns from nearby businesses. A report before the council’s economy committee on Tuesday (March 29) reads: “The closure was generally popular with the public.”

But it goes on to add: “The businesses in Pier Road, except for one or two, were not in favour of the closure and consider it damages their trade.”
Possible future options include:

  • Keeping the road open all year round and doing away with the closure
  • Permanently closing the road from the junction of Clifton Road to the junction with South Terrace
  • Closing the same section between July and September every year
  • Or permanent closure with one way traffic and pavement widening.

Economy committee members unanimously approved a consultation on Tuesday and indicated support for a seasonal closure.

James Walsh (LDem, Beach) said: “When we had the first experimental closure in the first year of COVID, it was seen by everybody as a great opportunity to test this out and it did receive overwhelming public support.”

But the opposition leader said he was ‘bitterly disapointed’ the closure would not happen this summer, saying: “We have missed an opportunity here.”

Dr Walsh criticised businesses who were opposed to the closure, saying: “There are one or two businesses that have never liked change.”

This was echoed by Mike Northeast (Lab, Courtwick with Toddington) who called these businesses ‘the most miserable bunch in the world’.

Dr Walsh added that claims from businesses that the closure stopped vehicles from parking outside was ‘a crazy Alice in Wonderland situation’ because the road has double yellows.

But Alison Cooper (Con, Rustington East) acknowledged the need for a consultation.

“I don’t think any one of us would have been happy if the road closure had gone ahead with the same signs, in the same way, and if it looked like it did,” she said, referring to the signage and barriers used last time around.

Director of place Karl Edwards said a relatively small team, combined with the pressures the council faced during the pandemic, were reasons why preparations could not be made for a closure this year.

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