Client: Willmott Dixon / West Sussex Council
Location: Worthing, West Sussex
RGP continues its extensive work on school projects, recently having been involved with securing planning approval for a new Secondary School in Worthing for 900 pupils. With the recent change in the age of admission in the Borough and the increase in population generally the demand for a new school had emerged. The site available was adjacent to a busy arterial route into the town centre from the Strategic Road Network, with the need to provide a new access arrangement as will as address connectivity concerns for pedestrians and cyclists.
As a starting point it was important to define the actual fall-back position and not get distracted by officer and local residents’ views that this would cause travel chaos due to an additional 900 pupils, and their associated journeys, being dropped into a particular location. As a Local Education Authority WSCC has a responsibility to educate its resident children and as such the fall-back position is one of temporary classrooms on existing school sites and the associated impact, or pupils travelling excessive distance across borough boundaries, and the impact of this. The creation of a new school does not in itself create children and of course all of the traffic movements anticipated has been accepted on the local highway network as a result of the recent residential development approvals locally. Predicting how teenage children travel is a difficult task, with major influences such as peer pressure and independence, although extensive surveys of nearby schools assisted the process. To mitigate the impact of dropping RGP developed a range of on and off-site locations, which could be managed to a certain extent, and would be deemed most attractive to different groups of people depending upon their origin and ultimate destination. We also developed a ‘Code of Conduct’ for parents of pupils being dropped off, which instead of promoting the use of the car, sought to ensure that those who do make that choice are respectful of all other road users. The concept of the Code of Conduct was well received. In addition it was crucial to demonstrate that the chosen site was in the right location from a transport planning perspective giving reduced journey length to most pupils, hence encouraging more sustainable ,modes of transport, whilst also being able to provide safe and convenient access for all with careful design.