Thanks to Cliff Archer for the following article  

New Puffin Pedestrian Crossing now in Operation

Completed early Nov 2009
At last, we have our new pedestrian crossing on the A259! When I proposed it to the Parish Council in December 2007, we knew that it would be a long haul, but did not think it would take this long. The crossing was formally opened on Monday 9 November by two children from Chidham School, Izzy Ball and Jack Chapman (see photo). Also at the opening were Mike Penny (Parish Council Chairman), myself (Cliff Archer, Parish Councillor), Lynda Aplin (Chidham School Head) and Jamie Lightfoot (County Highways Engineer), who designed the crossing and supervised its construction.
The crossing was a major project for Chidham & Hambrook Parish Council. It cost the parish £58000 and most of this was met by the Parish Council, spreading the financial load over three years of payments to the County Council. The remainder came from grants, donations and the proceeds of the very enjoyable Fun Day, which was supported by every organisation in the parish and raised £1443. When all the money is in, there should be nearly £9000 towards the cost of the crossing.
Everybody in Chidham and Hambrook will benefit from the crossing, particularly the many children (currently over 40 in number) who live north of the A259 in Hambrook and Nutbourne and potentially could walk or cycle to school. Parents and carers have been reluctant to allow their children to cross the A259 because of its dangers, so many currently drive their children to school. Significant traffic congestion in the narrow Chidham Lane outside the School occurs at the start and end of the school day. The risk to children and adults alike is apparent. It is now hoped that the weekly ‘Walking Bus', previously abandoned because it was too dangerous to use the ordinary bollards, will be revived and use the new crossing. Whether this happens, or not, the School anticipates that many more children will regularly use the crossing to get to and from school, with evident health and environmental benefits.

Now for the glitch ……..

It rained in the afternoon of the day the crossing was formally opened. When the rain stopped, puddles lay at each end of the Crossing. I contacted County Highways and Jamie Lightfoot reported that he would instruct the crossing contractors to rectify the problem.

For the technically minded ……

The crossing has some cunning devices. There are three sets of sensors on each side of the crossing, buried in the road at various distances from the crossing. These sense what the traffic is doing (traffic speed and density) and an electronic controller then decides how quickly to respond to a pedestrian pushing the button at the lights. Another sensor knows whether any pedestrians remain on the crossing; if there are none, then the lights go through the amber/green sequence for traffic. Together, the devices minimise delay to traffic, whilst being friendly to pedestrians waiting to cross the road.

Chidham & Hambrook Parish Council, faced with a delay of many years before the County Council could have funded a pedestrian crossing, has engaged in a noteworthy self-help process. We would like to thank the many individuals who have helped in so many different ways, including those who worked towards and supported the Fun Day, the donors and the grant-providers, including Chidham School, Chidham Church and the County Council.

Cliff Archer
Parish Councillor