Update as of May 2023

Petworth Town Council (PTC) has been informed by WSCC Highways that our Community Highways Scheme (CHS) application for a town 20 mph Zone has been successful, subject to feasibility, design and consultation requirements being met.

Highways has indicated that feasibility and design assessment will be undertaken in 2023 and if successful it is likely that work on the Zone would take place in 2024/25, subject to funding.

As often is the case, the ‘devil will be in the detail’.  Specifically, boundaries of the Zone will be critical for its success, and it is Highways (not PTC) who will make these decisions based on their guidelines.  However, the town’s residents and PTC will be able to lobby and make requests.  In fact, an exception to guidelines has already been requested for North St to be included in the Zone.

The 2021 application included a preliminary design, but the details will be decided by WSCC Highways.  The Town is free to request consideration of specific design details and Highways are free to reject them.

What are the ‘guideline’ problems that we face? There are two main ones. The first is that for any road to be in a 20 Zone the existing measured mean speed must be below 24 mph, or traffic calming measures must be included in the design.  Parts of North St, Angel St and Station Rd do not meet this requirement as mean speeds are over 24 mph.  The ‘Catch 22’ is that most traffic calming measures (other than signs) do not meet guidelines either, as these are ‘A’ roads.  For this reason, PTC has requested that North St should be an ‘exception’ because of its uniquely dangerous character.  Highways will consider this request and will also decide which if any parts of Angel St and Station Rd meet guidelines to be included in the zone.

The second problem is the requirement for at least a 400m distance between the 30 mph limit and the new 20 mph limit.  This is not met for the proposed North St, Angel St, Midhurst and Wisborough Green roads.  There is another ‘Catch 22’ as moving the 30 mph limits further out will not meet the guidance of road side building development for a 30 mph limit.

Clearly the Town will face challenges in getting the design we want, as every solution faces a new obstacle.  It is unlikely that everything want will be agreed.

The creation of a 20 Zone provides an opportunity to request the incorporation into the design, of signage and other traffic calming measures in and around the town (subject to money being available).  Examples would include considering the use of bollards at selected locations on North St; a new 50 limit lead in, on the A283 at Hampers Common; and improved 30 mph limit signage with ‘rumble strips‘, on the Balls Cross Rd.  PTC cannot be sure that Highways will accept the inclusion of other measures into the design, but we will try.

The ‘Zone’ will be an item on the agenda for the Annual Town meeting that is scheduled for May 25th at 7 pm in the Leconfield Hall.