Chichester underpass proposal - Observer poll results revealed

Observer readers have been having their say this week on fresh proposals for an underpass to be built beneath the city’s railway line and for both level crossings to be removed.

A masterplan for the area, stretching from the law courts to Canal Wharf, was agreed by Chichester District Council back in 2017.

Last week, members of the Gateway Plus team stood by the level crossing, talking to and handing out leaflets to passers-by about the benefits of an underpass. Read more here
The idea sparked debate among Observer readers, with many commenting on our Facebook page with views against the proposal.

However, according to our Facebook poll, which 1,200 people voted in, 85 per cent (977) of people are in favour of an underpass.

A handful of these people also commented their reasons.

John Torch K wrote: "How could anybody vote no to this? That railway crossing absolutely cripples the roads in town every single day. When the gates go down, the cars can no longer move and traffic jams are created."

Proposed underpass to replace the Basin Road level crossing (photo submitted).

Proposed underpass to replace the Basin Road level crossing (photo submitted).

Andy Tadd said he could 'see the advantages of an underpass'. He added: "It's about time this city started modernising rather than living in the past."

Rachel Davey said an underpass would 'help ease congestion' in the area. Claire Appi agreed. She said: "Traffic and congestion has increased and won’t get any better. Some time ago I was opposed to these ideas, now I see the only way forward is to build underpasses and overpasses on the railways and A27."

Andy Tadd shared the same stance. He said: "The roads need sorting and if this is the start lets get on with it."

Lynn Hoare believes an underpass will 'free up the morning car queue' and 'keep the school kids away from the cars'.

Richard Plowman and Brian Raincock from Gateway Plus team

Richard Plowman and Brian Raincock from Gateway Plus team

"I can embrace improvement even if it changes my area," she wrote.

However, there continued to be opposition to the idea.

Donna Carr said it would be a 'waste of money', which she feels would be better spent on improvements to the Fishbourne roundabout and other 'more important things'.

Clare Pascoe agreed. She said: "Money better spent on cycle lanes and buses please!"

Responding to the poll's question, Tom Bottrill-Taylor wrote: "Why? If you want to avoid the crossing then there are already two overpasses, one on Cathedral Way and another on the Bognor Road.

"Building an underpass wouldn't ease congestion as most of the queues are caused by people at the roundabouts waiting to join the busy A27."

Melody Forrest and Rich Gray expressed their opinion that an underpass would not be practical for taller vehicles, such as buses.

Other readers said they could see the benefits of an underpass, but questioned its feasibility.

Gareth Squires said it's a 'good idea', but feared it will cause will 'months of delays, and street closes in the area'.

Charm Smillie wrote: "How would they do this with all the buildings, that are all ready in place? Yes, great idea but 100 + years too late."