THE DANGERS of crossing busy roads have led to a petition calling for better crossings in West Sussex.
Safer roads campaigner Sarah Sharp said she spoke to several elderly people who struggled to cross Bognor Road, in Chichester, to reach the Co-operative store that opened just under a year ago.
“If you’ve got any disability or got any children or a buggy or you’re not so quick on your feet it becomes an issue,” said Mrs Sharp. “If you want to make walking a priority you need to make it easy.”
She praised the impact of the new Co-op, saying it encouraged people to shop in the area rather than getting in their cars and driving to one of the out-of-town supermarkets. However, she said a crossing was needed so more people could reach it.
She has launched the petition across the county, aimed at encouraging West Sussex County Council to rethink its approach to pedestrians and cyclists and not to make cars the priority.
The petition comes as a government inspector continues scrutinising the Chichester district local plan, which lays out a blueprint for the district until 2029.
Currently, part of the plan includes the creation of around 7,000 new homes. Mrs Sharp said this would equate to around 14,000 more cars on Chichester roads.
She said there was a lack of planning so far from the district council on what was needed to accommodate the extra cars.
“What they’re saying is that we don’t know which development will be built so they’re not doing the planning. My view is that these are central Chichester locations that need it anyway.”
A spokeswoman from the Southern Co-operative said: “Our community stores are located to be convenient for our customers whether they arrive by foot, car or public transport. Any highways scheme that improves safety is to be encouraged.”
“West Sussex County Council said it had several ‘streams of work’ that could lead to improved pedestrian facilities.
“Typically each year there are between ten and 12 new pedestrian crossings installed at a cost of between £50k and £70k each,” said a spokeswoman. The petition is online at secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/West_Sussex_County_Council_Improve_conditions_for_cyclists_and_pedestrians_in_West_Sussex.