New rear access for Bersted property approved despite visibility and road safety concerns

A new rear access to a Bersted property has been approved despite road safety concerns expressed by residents.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 12:18 pm

An application for 339 Chichester Road was submitted to Arun District Council in April to replace an existing boundary wall and add a vehicle access at the back of the property fronting on to Bedford Avenue.

The plans were approved  at a meeting of the planning committee yesterday (Wednesday July 28).

However several residents expressed concerns about road safety. They believe that visibility would not be adequate as the area is consistently lined with cars parked along the road and pavement.

The rear of the property as seen from Bedford Avenue (Photo from Google Maps Street View)

The applicant Daniel Delaney and his agent both sought to assure objectors that the new access was for the residential property and would not be used by his unconnected plumbing business, which has a separate premises in Aldwick.

In a written statement, Mr Delaney said some of the objections were ‘unreasonable’ and claimed he had been ‘harassed’ over the plans.

He said: “Concerns regarding parked cars do not seem reasonable to me and, from personal experience, I can say that it is uncommon for people to park in the immediate vicinity of the proposed access.

“No road traffic incidents have been attributed to this perceived issue along the road for the last five years and I do not feel that my proposals will be any different.

“Since making the required application, I have been personally harassed in various ways by a number of objectors who do not wish the application to be approved.

“The level of opposition has been disproportionate and is in part due to the perception that my unconnected business will operate from the property, which it will not.”

Dennis Thompson, from Bersted Parish Council, felt the plans would have a ‘negative impact’ on road safety in the area.

He added: “This corner of Bedford Avenue is subject to a traffic mitigation scheme.

“The new vehicular access is situated between plastic bollards designed to stop traffic parking on the pavement. The applicant will not be able to keep the area free of obstructions.”

Gary Bottwood, an objector, said: “Plans show the crossing in a different location than it has been built, which surely would have been picked up had a site visit been carried out.

“The actual visibility is ten metres maximum which is woefully short of that required by highways.

“The property has a driveway or vehicle crossing already which can easily house four cars, so why the need for extra space at the back of the property?

“This development has been botched from the beginning.”

Another objector, Graham Wingate, argued the application was ‘unnecessary’ due to current parking provision at the property.

He added: “If inspected properly, the result of near misses and avoidance actions on this bend could have clearly been seen on walls around this site with my neighbour having had his wall demolished more than once this year.

“If incidents such as these happen while this site is as it is, how long before our worst fears are realised once a new access is added to the mix?”

Several councillors also voiced concerns at the plans including David Edwards (Con, Felpham East), who described how he had been to the site more than once and every single time had seen small or medium commercial vehicles bearing the name ‘Delaney Plumbing’.

He added: “On Bedford Avenue there were five bollards which were no longer there. They had either been damaged or removed at some point by persons unknown.

“Consequently, people are parking on the pavement all the time as well as small and medium commercial vehicles.”

Richard Bower (Con, East Preston) said: “Photographs we have seen demonstrate very clearly the parking problem. It has existed for many, many years.

“I see no reason to refuse this, on the other hand I do sympathise with the residents on the road who have parking problems.”

Paul Kelly (Con, East Preston) said that the parking problem posed an access issue for the disabled and parents with prams.

However, council officers said the plan could decrease the number of vehicles parked on the roadside. They added that any resident would be allowed to park their commercial vehicle outside their home.

The applicant’s agent Tom Hayes assured councillors that the access would not be used for business purposes and welcomed them to include this as a condition of planning approval.

The application was approved by the committee by three votes to two with four abstentions. The application can be found at the Arun District Council planning portal using reference BE/59/21/PL.