Traffic safety plea over uni sports dome

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Fears of traffic jams in the city’s northern streets have been raised over the University of Chichester’s bid to build a multi-use sports dome.

Those living in the Summersdale area of the city are concerned the potential development will bring too many vehicles to its already-packed roads.

But university bosses have pledged to minimise the impact on the surrounding area the proposed all-weather activity centre will have.

Jeremy Hunt, chairman of the Summersdale Residents’ Association, said members did not object to the planning application off College Lane – which was due to be decided by Chichester District Council in the coming weeks. But they hoped an agreement could be reached to help make the busy access roads safer.

He said: “The SRA’s concerns are that the public use of this new facility might lead to an increase in traffic flow in College Lane, an already very dangerous road.

“With approximately another 150 dwellings yet to be built in Graylingwell Park with access to the west, there will undoubtedly be an increase in traffic over the next couple of years and this, together with the fact that the lane is now a bus route, means any further increase in traffic must be resisted.”

He said many motorists living in the area had already had ‘near misses’ and several cars’ wing mirrors had been knocked off by vehicles passing too close.

Plans for the 14m-high dome, which would accommodate three indoor netball courts or four indoor tennis courts as well as an area for storage, were backed by city councillors in November. It would be mainly for use by staff and students on courses run by the university, or for events run by sports clubs offered through the university to staff and students.

Now the group is asking the university to ensure its use is limited to those on campus – until access can be improved.

“Our proposal is that the new facility should be restricted to use by the staff and students of the university until such time as the new eastern access road to the campus is built,” added Mr Hunt. “Once this access is in place it will obviously ease the traffic flow in College Lane. At the same time it will allow the public wanting to use the university’s facilities access to the campus without having to negotiate the dangers of College Lane.”

A University of Chichester spokesman said the university was aware of the SRA’s concerns and hoped to reassure residents.

“As with many areas of the University, we welcome visitors from the local community to come and experience the world-class facilities, expertise and talent that we have at the institution. Planning consent will enable the sports dome to be used in the same way, and in developing our proposal for public use, we will work with the local authority to agree a policy that minimises any adverse consequences on our neighbours.”