Make Chidham Lane safer, not busier and more dangerous!
The daily lives of most residents, school users and other visitors are affected by the dangerous traffic situation in Chidham Lane and many have grave concerns about safety if the school expands by 50%.
Vehicles regularly mount the pavement where the lane isn’t wide enough. Parents, children and the disabled often have to walk in the road when cars are parked on the pavements. At times the lane is so congested it becomes impassable to large vehicles such as fire engines. Vehicles frequently reverse north and south in the lane in order to pass each other and this happens at the busiest times when tiny tots are crossing the road. Parents get stressed by insufficient safe, legal parking spaces and residents sometimes get blocked in. A child has been injured outside the school and in December a much-loved cat was knocked down at school pick-up time resulting in his death.
Many residents were not made aware of the proposal to expand Chidham School due to what they believe to be a flawed consultation procedure and this has caused a great deal of upset. The Deputy Leader of West Sussex County Council has confirmed that consultation was delegated to the School Governing Body and the school was given the opportunity to publicise the consultation to local residents. An electronic copy of the consultation document was sent to all parents, teachers and Governors etc., and the School shared a link to the consultation document via the school Twitter account. 8 days after the consultation began, WSCC provided a “Dear Resident” letter which the School displayed on their notice board. The Parish Council meeting came and went, again with very few knowing of this proposal hence the low attendance of just 4 members of the public. When it became clear to us that many residents simply wouldn’t know, we joined forces with another resident to hand deliver basic information to those living close to the school. Unfortunately by then it was too late for anyone to attend the consultation meeting and those without internet access would remain unable to read the consultation document. However, we understand this resulted in a good many residents being able to express their views before the Governors made their decision to proceed.
This proposal should now become a formal planning application and we would urge everyone to watch out for it if you want to have your say. WSCC have suggested that this might be in April.
Message to WSCC and The Board of Governors at Chidham School: many of us don’t have or can’t use the internet, don’t use Twitter, are not parents of children at the school and don’t regularly walk down the dangerous lane to read notice boards. Please bear this in mind in future. The sign often placed on the grass at the top of the lane advertising the school fair etc. is great for raising awareness, as is the much-read Village Magazine. Some residents would also be happy to help with leaflet dropping to share important information, so there are plenty of methods available which are appropriate to our diverse community.
Whether the School expands to provide another 70 places or not, we ALL need a safer Chidham Lane NOW. Increasing the traffic can only make it more dangerous and more stressful for parents and residents alike. For safety’s sake, please leave the car at home or use the park-and-stride facilities if you possibly can.