Having followed with interest the story surrounding the future (or lack thereof) of the Oving traffic lights; at least as a way to cross the A27 and access Chichester from the east. I see from last week’s paper that additional plans have been revealed to create a ‘light industrial development’ next to Shopwyke Lakes.
Considering this will have a direct impact on the A27 around the Portfield Roundabout (or Lido if it’s been raining) it seems bizarre that the Highways Agency are either unable or unwilling to comment on this as firstly the closure of the Oving lights will add pressure on to the Portfield roundabout and secondly there is a wider impact on plans to improve the A27 Chichester bypass.
Since the decision to develop housing at Shopwyke Lakes was taken, along with the controversial requirement to close the Oving lights as a planning condition imposed by the Highways Agency, funding has been announced for improvements to the A27 around Chichester.
What those improvements will be is not entirely clear but it seems they will be happening a lot sooner than any changes to the A27 at Arundel or Worthing. However, the detail available on the Highways Agency website indicates their thinking is closure of the Oving lights is very much the thin end of the wedge as they are also proposing traffic be prevented from crossing the A27 at Whyke Road and Stockbridge Road. As a result the improved junctions at Bognor Bridge and Fishbourne, with a flyover and underpass respectively for through traffic, will have to cope with more traffic crossing the A27 as will the roads feeding these junctions.
The impression is the Highways Agency are claiming their ideas will reduce congestion in the city as the proposals will provide park-and-ride facilities near the bypass and public transport will be allowed to cross the A27 at Whyke and Stockbridge.
Where these park-and-ride facilities will be sited has not been detailed and park-and-ride has not got a great history around Chichester, but even if park-and-ride facilities are built and funded, they won’t be a lot of use for anyone trying to leave the Manhood Peninsula and travel further north towards Midhurst. That traffic will either be directed on to a three-lane A27 from Stockbridge to Fishbourne (as one option) or dumped at Fishbourne via a new link road from Stockbridge (as an alternative). The Highways Agency have already shown themselves this year to be perfectly capable of pushing through plans against the wishes of local people so I suggest residents, especially those living south of the bypass, keep a close eye out for whatever plans the Highways Agency seek to adopt.