LETTER: Options don't favour local cars
Highways England (HE) figures show that only 42 per cent of traffic using the A27 at Chichester is through traffic. Fifty eight per cent of traffic is local journeys.
The current options include several which seek to reduce the exits onto the A27 to just two on the southern side (reduced from five). This will push that 58 per cent into the city and the surrounding roads. It raises concerns re emergency vehicle access, especially if the Terminus Way exit is merged onto the Cathedral Way roundabout.
Option 2 is the most destructive to the countryside and includes the destruction of at least 20 properties. Stockbridge and Whyke roundabouts are removed with no A27 access replaced by bridges crossing over the A27 pushing traffic directly into the city, each having a railway crossing to add delays.
Flyovers and proposed at Fishbourne and Bognor exits to spoilt the city skyline. A new road, the Stockbridge Link Road (SLR) is proposed to link Fishbourne with Hunston. This proposal will cut across unspoilt countryside along its entire path and will destroy the natural beauty of the area, leading to increased noise and air pollution for the residents of Stockbridge and Donnington encircled by both main roads.
The SLR will run from Fishbourne roundabout to the A286 at Mile Pond, on the edge of Donnington, immediately adjacent to several homes. Mile Pond will be filled in for a new roundabout to allow the SLR to continue on past the Canal Walk development, which has not been on any HE maps until now, fundamentally undermining their impact assessments. It will cross the canal spoiling the iconic Turner’s view of the cathedral as it joins with the B2145 at Hunston roundabout.
Ongoing traffic will continue its path onto Bognor through the narrow roads around Mundham and Runcton, passing the local school on roads unsuited to HGV traffic, presenting risks to the safety of pedestrians and cyclists alike.
The SLR will merge traffic leaving the coast from the Witterings and Selsey, competing for access to the two A27 roundabouts exits or will push further traffic through the city, already struggling. This will include traffic to and from Bognor plus those affected by the Oving exits removal. The result is pushing all traffic south of the city onto the same roads, unsuited, detrimental to residents and road users alike.
Effectively, this is a southern bypass by stealth and indications are that it would need to be upgraded to a dual carriageway by 2035. Completion would take three and a half years with massive disruption for all during its implementation.
While the northern route is not included, there are many benefits suggesting it be reconsidered. Unfortunately CDC have still opted for this option in the hope some suggestions to mitigate its impact will be implemented. As the cost of this option already exceeds the budget any amendments will increase costs so are likely to be ignored leaving the option as is.
Common sense dictates that none of the options will add material benefit so they should be reviewed to take account of the best option for Chichester, not just to spend a budget that is there, which is short sighted and devastating for those in this options path.
We love the area we live in and have beautiful views all around us, we mustn’t lose the very thing we all live here for to achieve minimal gains for those passing through, our local economy and health will suffer.
Mr M. Shepherd