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LODSWORTH PARISH COUNCIL – CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
Caroline Neville reported that the Parish Council has sadly lost several members over the past year, first with Ian Hopkins and Alistair Proctor. However it was fortunate enough to find capable replacements in David Rowlands and Stephen Game who have since been co-opted as Councillors. At the AGM earlier this evening, we lost two more invaluable members, Martin Lester and John West so we now have two vacancies. Please do get in touch with myself or the Clerk if you are interested in joining.
Four years ago, the Parish Council put forward two proposals to WSCC Highways for Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) in the village, proposing a speed reduction to 20mph and a HGV width/weight restriction. This was following a petition organised by the Parish Council which had backing from parishioners and support of our County Councillor, Michael Brown. However in March 2016, these were both refused along with numerous others in the area.
WSCC Highways carried out both speed and traffic reports in the village in March 2015. Speed reports indicated that at a mid-point along The Street the average traffic speed is 22mph whilst just North of Langham Stables, the average speed is 32mph. WSCC Highways concluded that this speed assessment shows that the current speed limit is working well and there is no justification for additional measures. With regard the HGV width/weight restriction, WSCC Highways said that any restriction would be unenforceable and local access is still required. The traffic assessment showed that less than 3% of all traffic was HGV’s which does not meet the volume criteria.
The Parish Council is regularly in contact with WSCC Highways, looking at ways to improve the safety of the parishes’ roads and help address any issues. The Speedwatch initiative is now being requested for use in the parish.
We welcomed Francis Hobbs as our new District Councillor who took over from Elizabeth Hamilton. Elizabeth is now chair of the District Council. Thanks must be given to Stan Bicknell and the late Gerry McKee who started the parish clearing and their initiative has since spurred on the monthly working party which meets to help clear and tidy the village; there has been a noticeable difference and thanks must go to Deryck Hamon for organising these. Anyone who wants to help, please do come along, more the merrier and refreshments are provided. Details of future working parties can be found in Outlook. This year the Parish Council has dealt with more than twenty planning applications,
Caroline Neville passed the floor to Martin Lester to speak about footpaths and rights of way. Martin has been responsible for so much in the village; Village Hall, Lodsworth Larder and the Croquet Club.
Martin Lester stated there was more than 2,500 miles of footpaths in the County and with an annual budget of £80,000 it appears footpaths are not a priority for WSCC. Anyone who is walking and comes across a problem can report it and must do so. https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/land-waste-and-housing/public-paths-and-the-countryside/public-rights-of-way/report-a-problem-with-a-right-of-way/. Over the past five years Martin has been responsible for footpaths he has only had two issues reported to him. We ALL need to start reporting problems with footpaths so they can be addressed. We have a WSCC warden (Nick Scott) who walks and inspects all the parish footpaths every 15 months, he is always happy to have company on these walks.