Is West Wittering’s new scheme to manage traffic flows working?

A new traffic management scheme aimed at improving the flow of traffic in and around West Wittering on sunny days has been employed twice since being introduced earlier this year.

West Wittering beach
West Wittering beach

The scheme was agreed upon back in March for an experimentation period of 18 months, from April until September 2020 – read more here.

Devised by the West Wittering Estate and local residents, with support from West Sussex Highways, the scheme will be implemented on peak days, between two and four times a year depending on the weather, a spokesman for the estate said.

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While the idea of the scheme was never to remove all queuing traffic, the spokesman said, it aims to keep single track carriageway roads such as Chapel Lane, Acre Street and Elms Lane clear of traffic so that emergency vehicles can access them and also stop ‘fly parking’ and motorists abandoning cars in and around the village.

The spokesman said: “Saturday 29th June was an extreme day where West Wittering Beach and indeed the south coast, in general, was in high demand.

“The traffic measures worked well but due to the sheer volume of traffic, delays were experienced.

“However, when it was utilised on Easter Sunday, which was still an extremely busy day, it worked efficiently and kept access to and from the village via East Wittering clear all day.”

The comments from the West Wittering Estate came after residents in Rookwood Lane expressed concerns over access to roads such as Elms Lane.

The spokesman said: “All local residents were informed of the scheme and have the opportunity to provide feedback on the measures as it is an experimental Traffic Road Order.

“It was explained to residents in West Wittering village, including those of Rookwood Road, that if they need a pass to access via the road closures, they can apply for one – namely, this is for anyone with time-critical journeys or medical carers etc.”

Delays have been ‘a part of village life for over 50 years’, the spokesman said.

“When the weather is forecast very hot and it has followed a period of poor weather, the beach is in high demand as it has been since way back into the last century,” the spokesman said.

“West Wittering Estate has invested heavily in more staff and infrastructure to improve traffic which it has done but as mentioned before, there are still a couple of times a year when demand will be extraordinarily high.”