Political opinion: Labour candidates launch petition to fix West Sussex’s broken roads

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This item has been submitted by the Labour Party. Labour's Parliamentary Candidates for Chichester, Crawley, East Grinstead and Uckfield, East Worthing and Shoreham, Mid Sussex and Worthing West have joined together to launch a petition aimed at forcing improvements to road maintenance across the county.

Labour's Parliamentary Candidates for Chichester, Crawley, East Grinstead and Uckfield, East Worthing and Shoreham, Mid Sussex and Worthing West have joined together to launch a petition aimed at forcing improvements to road maintenance across the county.

With data from Freedom of Information requests revealing that West Sussex now has the third worst record for pothole claims in the country, it may be unsurprising that local Facebook Groups are filled with complaints about the state of the county’s roads.

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While Government cuts to council funding over the years have reduced the amount of money available to pay for repairs, the candidates have raised several new funding sources not currently tapped by the council which stand to generate millions of pounds in additional funding for road maintenance, including putting the almost 2m of vacant land and properties currently owned by the county council to commercial use and the windfall boost in income stemming from districts adopting an empty home premium on vacant second homes.

Labour candidates are campaigning to fix potholes across West Sussex.Labour candidates are campaigning to fix potholes across West Sussex.
Labour candidates are campaigning to fix potholes across West Sussex.

Launched under West Sussex County Council’s petition scheme, the signatures of just 3,000 people living, working or studying in the area will trigger a debate at the county council on its contents, forcing councillors to discuss and vote on whether or not to support its proposals for fixing the county's broken roads.

Commenting on the condition of local roads, Tom Collinge, Labour candidate for Chichester, said:

"Residents of Chichester and the surrounding area have been vocal about the unacceptable state of the roads for some time. Potholes bring the area down and risk damaging our vehicles. By working together as Labour's team in West Sussex we're going to get the issue onto the council's agenda, the balls is then in their court to act."

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Peter Lamb, Labour candidate for Crawley, raised concerns over how road repair work was targeted:

“Crawley has received a pitiful 24 road maintenance schemes of the 516 allocated by the county council over the last two years, despite having some of the most heavily used roads in the county. It's clear to almost everyone that we not only need greater investment in local road network, but we also need to ensure that the investment is allocated fairly.”

Ben Cox, Labour candidate for East Grinstead and Uckfield, detailed the major failures around road maintenance affecting his area:

"As parliamentary candidate for East Grinstead and Uckfield I feel completely disappointed in the state of the roads. I call on highways to come up with a long-term plan to upgrade our roads. East Grinstead have the worst of all worlds because it is the corner of three county councillors, East Sussex, West Sussex and Surrey County Council and this means the roads are poorly managed with councils walking away from their responsibilities. We need the councils to work together and fix our roads that are way passed their use-by date. The West Sussex Labour group are best placed to push for better roads with an active Labour government looking to serve again in Westminster. Ben Cox East Grinstead and Uckfield parliamentary candidate."

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Tom Rutland, Labour candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham, highlighted the impact upon local residents:

"Time and time again, residents raise the state of roads across East Worthing and Shoreham with me. Countless people - including myself - have had to shell out for repairs to their cars as a result of the craters in our highways. The Conservative-led West Sussex County Council must get a grip on this problem."

Dr. Beccy Cooper, Parliamentary Candidate for Worthing West said:

"Whether you're walking, cycling, or driving, you will no doubt be affected by the craters that have appeared and the terrible condition of our roads and pavements. What's worse, many of the repairs aren't good enough, and potholes keep coming back soon after they're fixed. This is the number one complaint shared with me by residents.

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"As the Parliamentary Candidate for Worthing West and Leader of Worthing Borough Council, I fully support the petition calling on West Sussex County Council to do more to fix roads in Worthing and across the county. They must acknowledge the frustration felt by residents and increase their commitment to improve highways for all road users."

The petition is now live and it can be accessed online at: https://chng.it/b4W4Mfz8sH