Horsham District planners have now given permission for long-awaited proposals to re-shape Monaghans Mushrooms’ front-of-site access arrangements, which are designed to prevent (as far as possible) HGV vehicles from entering or leaving the site in a northerly direction on the B2139. This was an original planning requirement linked to financial benefit that the Monaghans operation received from the Abingworth Meadows housing development, and seeks to address (albeit only partially) the problem of wide vehicles using the narrow and steeply banked sections of the B2139 over Dukes Hill. This has taken much longer to progress than the Parish Council expected, which has been very frustrating for the community, but things are now moving. Full details of the works proposed can be found here on the HDC planning portal.
The new planning permission includes reinstating original conditions relating to HGV traffic to and from the site being routed exclusively from the south, and the Parish Council has made clear to Monaghans that we expect them to take appropriate steps to reinforce this with its hauliers, and to be pro-active/responsive in cases where this policy is being flouted. We have also asked Monaghans to ensure that their guidance to hauliers strongly emphasises that HGV drivers need to negotiate the Abingworth traffic calming features in a considerate way for other road-users.
Although planning permission is now secured, WSCC Highways still require further technical approvals (S278 agreement), so this is being progressed as quickly as possible, with a view to scheduling the works without further delay. The PC will keep residents updated as the timeline of the roadworks emerges.
It will not escape readers’ notice that, even if Monaghans’ HGV traffic becomes better-managed, there continues to be nothing (except the inconvenience of the pinch-point system) deterring other HGV ‘through’ traffic in central Thakeham. Unfortunately, WSCC Highways have not been receptive to the Parish Council’s suggestions that a general vehicle width restriction should be applied to this section of the B2139, for safety reasons. We are told that an order of this kind would first require a strategic framework plan for routing HGVs through West Sussex to be in place, and there is no current prospect or political appetite for such a plan. The Parish Council will continue to raise this as a policy priority via County Councillors.