It is often said that people are better at spending their own money wisely, than public bodies are, In spending taxpayers’ money. This is an obvious truth.
So when, as now, we have excessive public debts that need to be repaid or reduced, a special responsibility falls on politicians – both national and local – to exercise greater prudence.
Here in Horsham there are glaring examples of heavy and wholly unnecessary public expenditure.
The rebuilding of the three raised ramps in the Carfax has caused vast disruption of traffic, much inconvenience to pedestrians and losses for shopkeepers. The Carfax was blocked for six weeks while the work was done, requiring traffic, including buses, to be diverted round the town. All the people used to catching their buses in the Carfax were forced to walk to the Bus Station instead.
The cost of the building works is £60,000 excluding the additional cost of all the disruption caused.
Yet these raised ramps are useless, and sometimes dangerous as well.
Ramps – more often called speed humps – are intended to make vehicles show down; that is their purpose. But the three in the Carfax are so shallow that vehicles have no need to slow down when driving over them. Being in the town centre the traffic is already travelling slowly. The few who are exceeding 20mph can keep the same speed over the humps.
If you watch vehicles as they approach the humps you will see that very few slow down; they do not need to.
If the Highway Authority – the county council – had thought it necessary to install humps that would slow traffic, they should have put in much less shallow humps which could not comfortably be crossed at speed. Anyone driving into the recycling centre at Hop Oast will know what serious humps are like.
Over the years the humps in the Carfax have been repaired several times. Five years ago the repairs cost over £60,000.
This time, instead of the elaborate, disruptive and expensive rebuilding works, the Highway Authority should have simply levelled the humps down to the same level as the adjoining road, with ordinary matching resurfacing instead of the elaborate paving work that has been done.
And there is danger, too. Unfortunately some pedestrians and shoppers think, wrongly, that when walking over the humps, where the road is narrowed, they have priority. So drivers sometimes have to brake, suddenly, when people walk across in front of them.
These new humps, or ramps, are a financial disaster, pointless work and a potential danger.
The Causeway, Horsham