The press release (14/11/12) announcing the publication of the draft Storrington Air Quality Action Plan is to be welcomed at a particularly sensitive time. The draft is a ‘live’ document: in other words, it is not yet finished.
This draft plan makes it clear that the Storrington Traffic Management Feasibility Study, currently being undertaken by the air quality consultants, rather than the highways authority (West Sussex County Council), is still work in progress.
Waitrose claims that its large store expansion will actually improve air quality. It says that by nearly trebling the store size and doubling the car park size, there will be less traffic and less pollution than the existing shops generate at present. Local residents know otherwise. Many have challenged the data submitted by Waitrose.
To the layman, it is self-evident that local development will increase traffic congestion and air pollution. Indeed, our parish council has been studious in objecting to developments large and small on the grounds of the incremental impact on air quality in Storrington - with the recent exception of the Waitrose application, of course.
The problem for the district council is that the situation in Storrington is now so bad that there are no easy or credible solutions that will return the air quality to a safe level in the foreseeable future. Continuing to grant development plans unconditionally is simply adding fuel to the fire.
Thankfully, councillor Ray Dawe has spoken up for Storrington. In voting against the application to build 146 dwellings in Thakeham, he warned of the increasing number of cars that would come into the village, and the adverse effect that would have on air quality.
Let’s hope others heed his wise words.
Washington Road, Storrington