Ground breaking traffic scheme at Rogate is to go ahead

County councillor Gordon McAra with Fiona Dix in Rogate after the news the scheme would finally go ahead
County councillor Gordon McAra with Fiona Dix in Rogate after the news the scheme would finally go ahead

A ground breaking traffic scheme has been given the go ahead at Rogate after six years of planning.

The ‘shared space’ scheme pioneered in the Netherlands is designed to include safety measures for pedestrians and encourage motorists to slow down.

Parish councillor Fiona Dix, chairman of the village RATA group (Rogate Appeal for Traffic Action) has led the project and was delighted at the recent West Sussex County Council County Local Committee (CLC) to hear funding for the scheme would be included in the coming budget.

Rogate is divided by the busy A272 and the shared space traffic solution is being treated as a pilot which could be used in other villages.

“As far back as 2011, Rogate had been identified as high priority and the proposal for a pelican crossing was issued by West Sussex County Council (WSCC) in 2012,” said Fiona.

“At roughly the same time, RATA was highlighting its concerns about the safety of pedestrians and drivers as traffic and speeds through the village increased.”

But WSCC’s crossing was unpopular and a year later RATA took up the shared space scheme enlisting leading consultant Ben Hamilton Baillie.

With the backing of the village RATA received funding from the CLC and appointed him to carry out a design. But there was a severe set back when his scheme was costed at between £0.5m-£1m.

“With the backing of the CLC, county councillor Gordon McAra and chairman Michael Brown, RATA has been able to work with highways engineers for the last two years to produce a more cost-effective solution.”

The parish council has allocated funding and the South Downs National Park Authority has said it could to do the same.

Cllr McAra said: “One of the first meetings I had as a new county councillor was in Rogate to discuss the proposed road crossing. I spoke about shared space schemes and how designers like Ben Hamilton-Bailey looked at roadscape in a different way. It was agreed to look at this concept and ask WSCC to use some of the £60,000 set aside for the crossing to pay for the consultant’s report.” He said the commitment of the CLC to the innovative project had remained throughout.

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