LETTER: Still a long way from uniting over A27

I have been following all the recent twists and turns on this issue, and it seems that even after all this time we are still a long way from the community uniting around an option that might then be funded by DOT and actually go ahead.

Thursday, 17th August 2017, 12:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:24 pm

Last year I twice put forward an alternative option that was significantly different from any of the options being discussed, but received no response.

Given the recent debates reported in the Chichester Observer, I wonder if it’s perhaps worth putting forward my suggestion again?

I am against the ‘northern by pass’ options, which would in my opinion greatly damage the character of Chichester.

Chichester would become an island in a sea of traffic, totally losing its ‘soft’, permeable boundary toward the Downs.

Once done it could never be undone.

While I understand why many people living south of the current A27 are in favour of the northern bypass options, I feel the only acceptable way forward is upgrading the A27 along its current line, but just ‘tweaking’ current junctions will not achieve the level of improvement that is desperately needed – only grade separation of east-west through traffic from local traffic will achieve this.

One of the major problems with doing this, however, regardless of how effective the end result would be, is the horrendous disruption that would occur while the work was being carried out.

This could easily go on for two years or more.

My suggested option would achieve grade separation of through traffic without nearly so much disruption.

This is to construct a new road for through traffic immediately abutting the existing road on the south side. It would link into the existing road just west of the Fishbourne roundabout and just east of the Portfield roundabout.

In between it, could run at ground level apart from where it needed to cross over on the existing roads going south from the A27 (A286 to Witterings, B2145 to Selsey, A259 to Bognor and B2144 to Tangmere) on new bridges.

The existing bypass and junctions could remain more or less unchanged for local traffic to use.

The advantages of this option would be:

* No northern by pass, so no disastrous impact on character of Chichester

* No destruction of large swathes of open fields

* Total separation of all A27 east-west through traffic from local traffic

* Much less disruption to existing roads while construction is carried out.

I recognise that there would be a negative impact on properties immediately south of the existing A27, especially in Stockbridge, and complications arising from the impact on new developments to the east of the bypass, but I feel that overall this option has more advantages and fewer disadvantages than all the other options being considered so far.