30 years ago

From the West Sussex County Times of Friday, December 3, 1982.

Schoolboy Andrew Knifton cut the ribbon to allow traffic on to the new Southwater bypass on Wednesday.

But it was left to West Sussex County Council chairman Christopher Buckle, who officially opened the two and a half mile stretch of dual carriageway, to underline its importance for Southwater residents.

“It’s a very busy road being bypassed, carrying about 16,000 vehicles a day, and a very dangerous one,” he said. “Over the last four and a half years, 133 people have been injured in accidents, 22 of them seriously.

“It has been expensive to build, costing more than £4m, with only 20 per cent coming from a Government grant. But the county is determined to keep on with major projects.

He praised the children of Southwater Primary School for taking an interest in the project by recording it on slides and tape. It was through a school competition that seven year old Andrew won the chance to cut the ribbon with a pair of scissors inscribed with his name.

Traders in the Bishopric, Horsham say they are losing hundreds of pounds worth of business every week because of the roadworks outside their premises.

They are angry because they say they were not consulted about the work and have been given no indication of when it will be finished.

Mike Pearce, landlord of the Kings Arms, estimates that he is losing about £400 worth of trade every week. “It is affecting me very badly. The money I am losing represents about 20 per cent of my usual trade,” he says.

“I put this down mainly to lack of parking and the mess, mud and noise. People don’t want to come in at lunchtime and listen to pneumatic drills and diggers.”

Roy Day, of The Larder and Cellar stores, says his trade has dropped substantially. “On the first day of the roadworks I had to throw away hundreds of pounds worth of fruit and vegetables because people did not come in. We buy in advance in anticipation of trade,” he says.

Segas had been improving the gas supply to the town centre by bringing a pipe from the Broadbridge Heath bypass to a point near St Mark’s Church, Albion Way. The work had taken longer than expected because there had been obstructions such as sewers and electricity and British Telecom cables. It had therefore been difficult to give a finishing date.

Roadside car parking is on the increase in Bramber’s conservation area, it was claimed when the parish council met. “This is producing hazards,” complained Peter Firth. “It is particularly concentrated in the vicinity of The Maharajah Restaurant and within the confines of the approach to the zebra crossing.”

The crossing over the former A283 main road crosses The Street between the Horsham District Council-owned public car park and the House of Pipes museum.

“This careless roadside parking,” said Mr Firth, “makes a lot of difference at the time when children are returning from their schools. It puts cyclists, mums with prams at risk, and impedes the necessary work of the drivers of school buses.”

He warned that accidents could be expected as the problem mounted.

“People with no garages used to park their cars in the public car park at night,” commented district councillor Len Sanford, “but the district council made it known that this was contravening its bye-laws and people have become shy of taking the all-night parking risk.”