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WSCC Open New Cycle Route
Tuesday, 14 May 2019 13:17

A new, 3km cycle route has been completed, linking Pagham Nature Reserve with Medmerry Nature Reserve, boosting facilities for residents, visitors and wildlife enthusiasts alike.

The county council’s Public Rights of Way team worked with The Manhood Peninsula Partnership on ideas to bolster tourism in the area - and found that cycling provision was under represented. From this, a £400,000 scheme was devised. It includes:

• 1.2Km of shared pedestrian/cycling pathway

• re-construction/improvement on cycle route 88

• 1.7Km of improvements to the path between the new route and flood defences at Selsey.

The new cycle route is across the road from the RSPB’s Pagham Harbour Local Nature Reserve (PO20 7NE).

The council’s Project Manager, Thomas Collins, said: “The project has been receiving positive feedback from Sustrans as well as from visitors to the RSPB nature reserve.

“A key aim for the project was to reinforce the ‘sense of place’ in the area, enabling the Manhood Peninsula to become even better known as somewhere with wonderful scenery and impressive wildlife that is readily accessible to visitors.”

Deborah Urquhart, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “The route’s opening is great news for cyclists, pedestrians and bird watchers alike.

“This sustainable transport scheme opens up access to the Medmerry Nature Reserve and provides further links in to the Manhood Peninsula for cyclists and pedestrians.”

The contractor for the scheme was Balfour Beatty Living Places. Lloyd Allen, Principal Operations Manager for Balfour Beatty, West Sussex, said: “We are delighted to successfully hand over the new cycle route in West Sussex to the council.

"The scheme will significantly benefit the local community and visitors alike, improving access to the Medmerry nature reserve while providing a sustainable transport scheme for residents, visitors and wildlife enthusiasts.”

Welcoming the new facility, Steve Webster, Site Manager at the RSPB’s Pagham Harbour and Medmerry Reserves, said: “The RSPB is thrilled with the construction of the new cycle link between the Pagham Harbour and Medmerry nature reserves.

“Working in collaboration with West Sussex County Council and other partners, this route provides opportunities for local residents, holiday-makers and visitors to the reserves to get around more easily – taking in the views, getting exercise and of course, seeing the wildlife.”

Carolyn Cobbold, project leader for the Manhood Peninsula Partnership, said: “Linking Pagham to Medmerry with a new cycle path is a great addition to the growing network of cycle routes in Chichester district.

“The peninsula, in particular, is a wonderful place for recreational cycling and the Manhood Peninsula Partnership has been working hard to encourage more cycle paths as part of the coastal area's valuable tourism product.

“More and more people are discovering that our area is a fabulous destination for a holiday, whatever the time of year, and being able to spend a few days walking or cycling in open countryside rather than having to get in a car is a growing attraction for visitors.”

Cycling facts:

• West Sussex Highways has provided a total of 5.8km of cycle path in the 2018-2019 financial year (exceeding the 5.75km target). This does not include the Medmerry scheme, which finished after 31 March.

• The Pagham Harbour to Medmerry cycle link has opened in plenty of time before National Bike Week, which starts 8 June.

• See walking and cycling strategy for lots more information about the county council’s approach to sustainable transport

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Broadbridge Heath Highway IMprovements Begin
Tuesday, 14 May 2019 13:09

Work has started on major highway improvements in Broadbridge Heath.

The benefits of the project will include:

• reducing through-traffic in Broadbridge Heath village

• improving connections between old and new parts of the village

• providing new facilities for pedestrians and cyclists

The C622 is now closed to allow work to start. The closure includes a section of Billingshurst Road between Shelley Drive and Newbridge Roundabout to control vehicle access and allow construction to proceed safely and efficiently.

The scheme will manage traffic on the main routes (A264, A281 and A24), which currently uses the old bypass, through downgrading and closures on the C622 and redirecting traffic to a new A264 link.

Access for buses and emergency vehicles will be maintained throughout the works. Shops and businesses in Broadbridge Heath will be able to open as usual throughout.

A West Sussex Highways spokesperson said: “The project started last Tuesday (7 May) with the introduction of traffic management and road closures. This took some motorists by surprise and caused frustration but we took immediate action to increase signage and will continue to monitor the situation.

“We are just six days into the project and we would ask people to bear with us while even more road users are made aware of the new traffic arrangements.

“Improvement projects like this can cause inconvenience during construction, for which we apologise, but there will be many long-term benefits for the village and residents.”

About six months after completion, a full evaluation of the scheme will be carried out and any adjustments identified will be considered.

The first phase of the scheme will include:

• completing vegetation clearance in key areas

• installing reptile fencing to protect reptiles in the area while the works are happening

• excavation and drainage works on the Newbridge and Farthings Hill roundabouts

20190513-highways broadbridge-heath-scheme-plan

 
Boost for Bio-Diversity as WSCC Publish Pollinator Strategy
Tuesday, 14 May 2019 13:02

The importance of pollinating insects such as butterflies, bumblebees and beetles is being spelled out bt Conservatives in West Sussex

A new ‘Pollinator Action Plan’ has been published by the County Council which sets out how these vital species will be protected.

“Pollinators are an integral part of our existence. Without them our food supply, wildlife and countryside would cease to exist,” said Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, and Member for Angmering and Findon.

“There are over 4,000 species in the UK and impending habitat loss, pesticides and climate change are threatening their very existence.”

The council’s Pollinator Action Plan aims to help sustain pollinator species across the county, and is built around five central aims:

  1. To ensure the needs of pollinators are represented in local plans, policy and guidance where relevant.
  2. To protect, increase and enhance the amount of pollinator habitat in West Sussex, prevent any extinction and improve the status of any locally threatened species.
  3. To increase awareness of pollinators and their habitat needs amongst local residents, businesses and other landowners.
  4. To increase the contribution to pollinator conservation of land under the ownership of, or managed by the County Council.
  1. To improve knowledge and understanding of pollinators in the region.

Deborah added: “We were already looking at pollinators through our work to improve air quality and our ‘Better Breathing’ strategy, but this additional level of focus will now build on this and help us to ensure that the beauty and prosperity of our local environment continues for generations to come.”

The County Council has been running a ‘Notable Road Verge’ scheme since the 1970s and for over four decades has identified and managed over 50 miles of species-rich road verge to maintain their value for pollinators. 

The County Council also manages several countryside sites such as Fairmile Bottom and Halnaker Windmill where wildlife and biodiversity thrive, for the public to enjoy.

The meadow at Buchan Country Park is cut specifically to promote wildflower diversity to provide opportunities for a wide range of pollinators including bees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies. Glade management within woodland is undertaken to promote opportunities for woodland flowers and their pollinators.

Shared use paths such as Downs Link, Worth Way, and Forest Way are also managed to promote biodiversity, providing wildlife corridors within the landscape including shelter and food opportunities for pollinators.    

The County Council has a partnership with the Sussex Wildlife Trust to manage local wildlife sites - some of our most valuable wildlife areas which play an essential role as both a source from which pollinators can spread and also important stepping stones in the ecological landscape.

Henri Brocklebank, Director of Conservation at Sussex Wildlife Trust, said: “We very much welcome the publication of West Sussex County Council’s pollination action plan. The plight of insects globally and in the UK is now well known with the 2016 State of Nature report telling us that 59% of British insects are in decline.  The report puts the UK as one of the worst places in the world for the state of its wildlife. This is shocking and we all need to do what we can to reverse these trends and West Sussex County Council should be applauded in developing their plan.”

West Sussex County Council will now work closely with contractors and partners to deliver the plan and will encourage schools, residents and businesses to get involved along the way.

Laurie Jackson, Farm Pollinator and Wildlife Advisor, Buglife, said: "It is great to see West Sussex County Council taking a lead in making a commitment on pollinator conservation in the county. This action plan sets the foundation for improving the prospects of our county's diverse pollinator community and identifies many opportunities for coordinated measures to be implemented."

Visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/bees to learn more and find out about the small changes you can take too.

Pollinators under threat:

Our pollinators are in trouble:

- Half of our 27 bumblebee species are in decline

- Three of these bumblebee species have already gone extinct

- Two-thirds of our moths are in long term decline.

- Across Europe 38% of bee and hoverfly species are in decline

- 71% of our butterflies are in decline.

The most significant factors leading to these declines in pollinator numbers include:

  1. Habitat loss – The most significant cause of decline is the loss and degradation of habitats which provide food, shelter and nesting sites for pollinators. The loss of wildflower-rich grasslands is one of

the most important issues. Over 3 million hectares of these habitats have been lost in England alone

since the 1930s, the loss being attributed to more intensive farming and urban/industrial

development.

  1. Pesticides – There is growing evidence that the use of pesticides is having harmful effects on pollinators including honeybees, wild bees and butterflies. Wider effects throughout ecosystems are

also of concern and pesticides have been implicated in other declines such as farmland birds and soil organisms. The use of 26 neonicotinoids is of particular concern. These are systemic pesticides which can be applied as a seed dressing (the preferred delivery mechanism) or spray and have a high toxicity to insects.

  1. Climate Change – long term changes can deprive pollinators of food supplies at times when they need them, increase their exposure to parasites and diseases, or change habitats so that they are no longer suitable. There may be gains as well as losses but a resilient network of good pollinator habitat across the area is needed for them to be able to adapt and take advantage of changes.

What pollinators need

Pollinators need many of the things we need – food, shelter and nesting areas.

Food – Pollinators need food (nectar and pollen) throughout the season from March through until September. Many plants and trees can provide these food resources, including many so called ‘weeds’ such as dandelions and thistles.

In addition to flowers, many pollinators need other food resources to support their different life stages – for example butterfly and moth caterpillars need particular plants to feed on.

Shelter and nesting - Dense vegetation such as tussocky grassland, scrub, mature trees, and piles of wood and stone can provide essential habitat for hibernating pollinators. Many species overwinter as adults including queen bumblebees, and some butterflies and hoverflies, others as eggs, larvae or

pupae. Old burrows and dense vegetation are used by bumblebees, with sunny slopes and dry ground used by ground-nesting bees such as mining bees.

urquhart213

 
West Sussex County Council approves 2019/20 budget
Friday, 01 March 2019 09:50

West Sussex County Council has approved a balanced budget for 2019/20.

The meeting of the full council debated the proposed budget before approving a net expenditure of £575.5 million to deliver key services for all the communities of West Sussex.

As part of the 2019/20 budget the council also agreed significant investments to support the delivery of the five key priority areas of the West Sussex Plan.

These include:
• £6.1 million - additional new investment in Children and Young People’s services
• £7.3 million - investment in Adults and Health.
• Additional investment - Special Support Centres to help to keep students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in mainstream schools with their peers and in their local area.
• £3 million - additional investment in extra care schemes to help keep older people living independently for longer.
• £44.5 million - investment in a sustainable energy programme which includes the installation of solar farms and battery storage on unused council land.
• £5 million - programme to create community hubs and protect key services by bringing them together under one roof.
• £13.8 million - investment in corporate and fire fleet vehicles and £1.8 million in specialist fire equipment to support our Fire and Rescue Service.
• £22.5 million - investment in digital infrastructure supporting businesses and rural communities.

Since 2010, the Council has saved more than £200m and in the same period, government funding has been cut by £145m. The County Council faced a challenging financial gap of £45.4m for 2019/20 alone, due to increasing demand on social care services and a continued reduction in central government funding. As a result, it identified £23.4m of savings across a number of services. The remaining amount has been found through a council tax increase of 4.99% which includes a dedicated 2% to fund adult social care. This increase means an additional £1.27 per week for the average Band D household.

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council said:

“Despite the difficult financial challenges we face as a county council this budget includes significant investment in a number of priority areas for the communities we are here to serve. We're making a clear commitment to continue exploring new and innovative ways to generate income and do more with the money we have.”

Jeremy Hunt, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said:

“This budget is balanced, robust and sustainable which supports the five key priorities in our West Sussex Plan. It is a budget that supports our residents and ensures that we continue to provide our many excellent services.”

JeremyHunt

 
£180k funding boost for West Sussex One Public Estate
Friday, 01 March 2019 09:47

Government funding of £180,000 has given an additional boost to the One Public Estate West Sussex programme, designed to transform local communities and provide better public service.

It’s on top of £640,000 already received from Government since 2017. Led by West Sussex County Council, One Public Estate (OPE) West Sussex brings together 23 public sector organisations to work together to look at how their collective assets can be used more efficiently and effectively. The ultimate aim is to improve services for residents and ensure the best value for money for taxpayers.

Partners involved include district and borough councils, organisations from across the health sector, police, ambulance and fire and rescue services.

The latest round of funding awarded will go towards feasibility/development appraisal works in the following areas:

• Burgess Hill: The Brow (joint project with Mid Sussex District Council, West Sussex County Council and others)
• Shoreham: Pond Road (led by West Sussex County Council)
• Chichester: Southern Gateway (led by Chichester District Council)
• Chichester: Northgate (led by West Sussex County Council)

Leader of the County Council Louise Goldsmith said: “I’m delighted that the OPE West Sussex programme has yet again been successful in securing revenue funding from Government to support the development of collaborative projects. This continues to demonstrate the success of the partnership and the countywide commitment across the public sector to delivering the wider benefits OPE can bring for residents, communities and services.”

The OPE programme is a joint initiative between the Cabinet Office and the Local Government Association.

The aim is to improve public services while rationalising the public estate so there is a reduction in the amount of money spent on buildings by the public sector. The programme will also help free up land for the development of housing, commercial and employment space to help support local economic growth.

goldsmith213

 
Have your say on Worthing town centre improvements
Wednesday, 23 January 2019 15:30

A quirky interactive wall and a seaside-themed public square are set to be the focus of major improvements to transform a key street in Worthing’s town centre.

The proposal to pedestrianise the busy area of Portland Road is being developed by West Sussex County Council in partnership with Worthing Borough Council through the Worthing Growth Programme.

New plans will be revealed at a public exhibition held between Monday 21 January and Friday 8 February in Worthing Library on Richmond Road. Residents are invited to come along and view the plans for the Portland Road area. They will also have the opportunity to give comments about the new designs by completing a form or an online survey by visiting www.westsussex.gov.uk/portlandroad

Two drop-in events will also take place in Worthing Library (24 January 12pm-5pm) and Worthing Town Hall (6 February 12pm-5pm) where local people can discuss the project with representatives from West Sussex County Council and Worthing Borough Council.

Residents, councillors and businesses have previously been consulted about improvements to Portland Road and their feedback has been used to create final designs. Once the plans have been approved, work on the area is set to begin in early 2020.

Councillor Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “These improvements have the potential to turn Portland Road into a vibrant destination for visitors and residents, as well as contributing to our wider ambition to regenerate the town centre.

“We made it clear from the start that the input of everyone was to be welcomed. Now the designs have been revealed I hope they can see that we not only listened but we have delivered.

“I believe what is presented are plans which are truly distinctive to Worthing as a location, creating a really special place where people of all ages can come together.”

Along with a new continental-style boulevard, the proposals include creating an interactive art installation with revolving square cubes.

This will be flanked by new planted ‘green walls’, trees and semi-vertical bike racks, all of which will make the area more attractive.

At the heart of the new area will be a place for people to gather and socialise at all times of the day.

Above the street, designers have suggested a canopy of suspended kites, which light up at night and become an eye-catching attraction in the local area.

The plans, known as public realm improvements, form part of a Growth Deal agreed by West Sussex County Council and Worthing Borough Council in 2017. The aim is to create cohesive, well designed and connected public spaces between Worthing Railway Station, the town centre and seafront.

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council said, “The Portland Road project kick-starts ambitious plans to completely transform Worthing town centre under the Growth Deal agreement. The eleven public realm projects form part of a £12 million plan delivered over the next five to ten years to regenerate the public spaces in the town centre.

“This really is an exciting time for Worthing, and I encourage as many people as possible to come along to the Portland Road exhibition and see the innovative designs for themselves.”

For more information about the Adur and Worthing Growth Deal visit the West Sussex County Council website.PortlandRdImprovements

 
Health and Wellbeing Board returns for first meeting of 2019
Tuesday, 22 January 2019 10:18

HealthConsultationTackling tobacco, reducing the risk of falls, as well as health and wellbeing in Mid Sussex, will all feature on the packed agenda of the next Health and Wellbeing Board this month.


The Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) brings together senior leaders and officers from the NHS, Adults and Children’s Services, District and Borough Councils, Public Health, Clinical Commissioning Groups and GPs as well as representatives from Healthwatch, the voluntary sector and elected members.

The aim of the board is to improve the health and wellbeing of West Sussex residents, reduce the health inequalities gap by improving the wellbeing of the poorest and promoting joined up working to ensure better quality of service for all.


The board convenes for its first meeting of 2019 on Thursday, 24th January at 2pm at Haywards Heath Town Council, 40 Boltro Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1BA.


During the public meeting, members of the board will receive a report from Mid Sussex District Council on the work it has been doing to promote health issues within the district. 


The board will also hear about the launch across the county of a joint working tobacco control strategy. This will see the County Council work in partnership with a number of organisations to co-produce a West Sussex strategy for tobacco control, with the ambition of reducing health inequalities and yielding economic benefits. 


Members of the board will also learn about a pioneering new programme commissioned by the county council to help reduce the risk of falls. This programme, run by Sussex Community Foundation Trust, will aim to reduce some of the winter pressures facing the NHS by offering support to people at risk of suffering a fall.

There is also an opportunity for members of the public to put questions under the Public Forum item on the agenda.

 
We are Investing to Improve the A285
Thursday, 10 January 2019 10:30

Works are continuing on the A285 road safety scheme, where roadside safety edges are being built between Halnaker and Petworth. The scheme is using innovative recycling methods where road planings, soil and other materials being removed to make way for the new edges are being recycled, significantly reducing costs and environmental impact. It is estimated a total of about 8,000 tons of materials will be recycled in the A285 scheme, with very little waste needed to be taken to landfill.

Improvements also include introducing a ribbed edge line. More than half of the serious accidents on the A285 involve drivers leaving the road; the ribbed edge line will introduce an audible and tactile warning to drivers if they leave their lane – the width of which will also be made more consistent as part of the scheme. The work is concentrated in sections, focusing on 300m lengths at a time, with one or two sets of temporary traffic lights in operation for the safety of the workforce and public. Following a pause over the festive season work is due to re-start on Monday 7 January, 2019 and, subject to factors such as severe weather, is on course to be finished by April 2019. The scheme started in October, 2018, and is being funded through a £2.4million award from the Department for Transport’s Safer Roads Fund.

A285Works

 

 
We Launch Second Solar farm
Tuesday, 13 November 2018 11:58

The county council has powered up its second solar farm which features the latest battery storage technology to maximise benefits.

Westhampnett solar farm near Chichester will generate enough clean electricity to power 2,400 homes for the next 25 years.

It’s a pioneering project that has been built on a closed landfill next to the A27. The large batteries are used to store surplus electricity and release it to the grid when consumer energy demand peaks.

Westhampnett solar farm forms part of the county council’s long-term energy strategy to increase the amount of renewable energy generated and consumed in the county. This will help to ensure that energy is affordable, resilient and environmentally sustainable for years to come.

Tangmere solar farm, the first site completed by the county council in 2015, already generates enough clean energy for 1,500 homes and solar panels on council buildings, including offices, schools and fire stations are producing clean energy and helping to reduce energy costs. More than 70 West Sussex schools will be generating clean solar energy by the end of this financial year.

All the county council’s renewable energy projects are designed to pay back the full cost of installation over time and deliver an income. Much of the work is delivered by Sussex companies, which benefits local jobs and growth.

Louise Goldsmith, county council Leader, said: “I am delighted to see the completion of Westhampnett solar farm. Living in the sunniest county, it makes absolute sense for us to use our natural resources and to generate clean energy that can be fed in to the local electricity grid.

“As one of the first solar farms to be built with battery storage and free from government subsidy, we are blazing a trail among local authorities and demonstrating that councils have a role to play as local leaders on energy.”

With more solar farms and battery sites planned, the county council wants to supply more ‘locally-generated’ renewable energy to households through Your Energy Sussex, its council-backed energy supplier, which offers competitively-priced electricity and gas to customers.westhampnett-solar-farm

 
Growth Deal Signed for Horsham
Tuesday, 13 November 2018 11:53

Key sites in Horsham and the surrounding area are set to be transformed thanks to a new deal between West Sussex County Council and Horsham District Council.

The Horsham District Growth Deal was signed by leaders of both councils and kick-starts a partnership that will deliver new homes, create jobs and boost economic prosperity in the area.

By signing the deal, Louise Goldsmith, county council Leader, and Ray Dawe, Leader of Horsham District Council, have committed to a number of shared strategic growth priorities.

Major projects outlined in the Deal include:

West of Horsham and North Horsham Developments – deliver housing and economic growth in these locations

Horsham town centre – progress the delivery of a new Town Centre Vision that will promote and sustain the town centre and maximise investment opportunities

Hurst Road – potential redevelopment of the site to deliver new housing and employment opportunities

Former Novartis site – redevelop the site to provide high value employment opportunities.

Louise Goldsmith said: “The Horsham District Growth Deal provides a real opportunity to work formally together on a range of ambitious plans for Horsham and the surrounding area. It means we can secure resources and investment to deliver much-needed improvements to local infrastructure including a new fire station and training centre.

“I know from other District Deals that collaborative working with the district council and other partners creates an environment to boost the local economy, helping both local residents and businesses to not only prosper but also to benefit from the improvements planned.

“The Horsham deal is the sixth one signed, and I am delighted to say West Sussex County Council now has deals in place with every district and borough council in the county. It puts a real focus on economic growth and development, countywide.”

Ray Dawe said: “Horsham District Council is working to increase economic growth, maintain and create new local jobs and bring continued prosperity to the district and our residents.

"The value of this District Deal is that we work in partnership with the county council to ensure we together focus strongly on agreed priority projects that will help us achieve our objectives.”

For more information please see: www.westsussex.gov.uk/horsham-growth-dealHorshamDealGraphic

 
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Tuesday 14 May 2019

WSCC Open New Cycle Route

A new, 3km cycle route has been completed, linking Pagham Nature Reserve with Medmerry Nature Reserve, boosting facilities for residents,…
Read More ...
Tuesday 14 May 2019

Broadbridge Heath Highway IMprovements Begin

Work has started on major highway improvements in Broadbridge Heath. The benefits of the project will include: • reducing through-traffic…
Read More ...
Tuesday 14 May 2019

Boost for Bio-Diversity as WSCC Publish Pollinator Strategy

The importance of pollinating insects such as butterflies, bumblebees and beetles is being spelled out bt Conservatives in West Sussex…
Read More ...

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