LETTER: A27: A letter to Mr Grayling
I am writing on behalf of my husband and myself in order to voice my objections to the southern option of the A27 improvement scheme.
We moved to the Donnington area in January 2015 for many reasons. The most significant for us was that Donnington represented an area that was cleaner than an inner city and provided us access to our local Chichester Conservation Area, which is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, as well as a canal to walk to the city alongside and a farmer’s field, rather than traffic, at the end of our road.
Now the quality of our air, as well as the conservation area and the very nature of Donnington are under threat from the southern plans for the A27 improvement scheme.
Quite apart from the inconvenience of the road works and the impracticality of the proposals (no access to the A27 will inevitably put pressure on city traffic as well as the back roads), irreversibly ruining an important conservation area and increasing the nitrogen levels of the area are things we find wholly unacceptable. Both our sons, and my husband, have asthma. Reducing the air quality will directly impact them.
From our reading of the proposals and attendance at the meetings none of the proposed plans for the southern route are workable and all should be rejected. The northern route, which offers some real relief to travel in Chichester, should be revisited instead. All Chichester residents deserve an honest explanation as to why these superior plans were dropped in the first place and why the current inferior proposals are being hurried through.
It would be more sensible to add traffic lights to the major A27 roundabouts in the short-term, while looking for a real solution that will not be a simple patch but actually provide a traffic system that will provide lasting benefits. Something similar to the A27/M27 at Portsmouth would make sense. The road does not pass through the city and therefore through traffic does not congest the city.
This sort of solution does not appear to have been proposed for Chichester. If it is a question of funding it would be better to wait until sufficient funds were available to create a lasting solution than simply throwing what monies are available to ideas that ruin local areas of nature, reduce air quality for residents, pushes traffic to the city and b roads and ultimately does not fully address the problem.
There are a number of issues with the southern route – the loss of farmland between Donnington and Stockbridge would change the very nature of the area (we benefit from a field at the end of the road now. It would be quite different if this was a road), the failure to include in the environmental impact assessment the new build houses at the canal side development (not an insignificant number), the effective destruction of the canal route to Chichester for both pedestrians and cyclists as well as nature by the proposal of a road over it, and the failure to take into account the beach traffic in high season. The list goes on.
In short none of the southern plans seem to be well thought out or provide any real relief to the traffic issues. Instead they fundamentally change the nature of our area, bring significant environmental problems and will render our area unbearable as well as negatively impact local business and tourism.
All the reasons that we moved here for will be removed and the health of our family, as well as our quality of life, would be acutely diminished.
Highways England already fail to adequately maintain the footbridge at Stockbridge roundabout – apparently urgent works are scheduled but they are unable to give me a date to say when they will happen.
Whenever the temperature drops it is frequently an ice rink until they occasionally get it gritted. Putting traffic lights and possibly pedestrianising the crossing, thereby removing the footbridge, or at least providing an adequate and well maintained footbridge would do far more to benefit Donnington residents and relieve some traffic than any of the current active proposals.
I therefore urge the current plans for the Southern route are dropped and that the Northen option or another alternative is considered.
Lucia and Matthew Whalley