New link road from A286 to the A27 ‘will destroy key habitat’
A link road from Fishbourne roundabout to the A286 Birdham Road could damage habitat areas on the peninsula, residents have warned.
The single carriageway route forms part of mitigation measures for the A27 proposed in Chichester District Council’s Local Plan Review, which is currently under consultation.
Combined with junction changes at the bypass’ major junctions, the road will cut across agricultural land to rejoin the A286 just south of Hunston, and next to the protected harbour area.
Dr Carolyn Cobbold, from Birdham, said she had concerns about the long-term impact on the peninsula.
She said: “The proposed road is adjacent to some of the most vulnerable and important ecosystems and habitats in the district, internationally designated sites, and would harm some of our most treasured and unique views, those of the cathedral from the harbour, marina and the Salterns Way.”
She added that the plan would not help traffic issues on the peninsula when combined with other road plans.
Visitors to the Witterings are known to pack the road during the summer months and the population of Selsey and the surrounding areas is bolstered by those making their way to Bunn Leisure and other destinations.
Dr Cobbold explained that the road’s position alongside changes to the Stockbridge and Whyke Road roundabouts would mean traffic from the A27 onto the peninsula was directed via Fishbourne roundabout, and onto the already busy A286.
“That means all the routes that people on the Manhood use on the A27 when traffic is bad, to restrict these junctions, you restrict movement on the peninsula,” she said.
She added that the route, similar to part of the Stockbridge Link Road once proposed by Highways England, may have to be upgraded after a decade or so to a dual carriageway.
She said: “We’re flying in the face of climate change, we’re trading integral habit sites and for a solution that’s not a long term solution.”
The link road is planned as part of supporting infrastructure for an industrial site south-west of the city and around 100 homes as part of Policy AL6. The policy states existing views of the cathedral would be identified and protected under the site masterplan.
The proposed Stockbridge Link Road from Fishbourne roundabout to Birdham Road is part of a strategic site allocation south-west of the city.
Around 85 hectares of land is earmarked in the Local Plan for an ‘employment led’ development, comprised of 33 hectares of employment land and ‘a minimum of 100 dwellings’.
The policy listed in the Preferred Approach document states the site should have good access to the city centre and have a neighbourhood centre or other facilities and public open space to make it a sustainable location for development.
Infrastructure such as the link road and the business and industrial space should be delivered at an early stage, with regular bus services and cycle links into the city.
An accompanying transport study to the Local Plan Review by Peter Brett stated the link road would provide an alternative to reliance on the narrow Appledram Lane, which has been discounted from improvements due to residential use and its position by the AONB.
The report added: “Given this link unlocks land for employment and potentially residential use, it has the potential to be funded for the majority of its length by the associated private development, as are the northern and southern access points, subject to the scale of development.”