Here we go again... WSCC turn down funding from Highways England and then pay a consultant vast sums to come up with pretty much the same solutions all over again but with such a remarkable lack of clarity that we are all left to guess what the exact routes might be.
This time there is no guarantee that Highways England will stump up the cash so, when the simplest, cheapest and least disruptive solution would have been to upgrade the current road, we now find that we may be left with no improvement whatsoever and one then has to ask questions about the competence of a county council who were elected with the promise to improve the existing road because they certainly don’t have the resources to carry out the project without central government funding.
The state of our local roads bears testament to the paucity of existing resources.
Recent updates from BABA27 might also lead one to suspect an element of subterfuge within WSCC given reports of secret closed door meetings with Systra and ‘key stakeholders’.
If a new northern road is agreed then yes I may be directly affected because one of the theoretical ‘proposed’ northern routes might pass within yards of my front door or even require the demolition of my house.
However if that happens I hold out some hope that I may be adequately compensated, so I am more concerned about the damage to Chichester and the local environment.
Chichester District Council in concert with the Environment Agency and the Arun and Rother Rivers trust have committed a considerable amount of time and money investing in a study to improve the biodiversity of the Lavant Valley.
The stretch to the north of Summersdale is specifically earmarked for wetland improvement.
The river is home to several critically endangered species, European eels, newts and sticklebacks and supports a healthy wildfowl population and the trees around the river also provide a very valuable habitat for increasingly rare bats.
In addition this part of the valley is used by many hundreds if not thousands of people for walks and recreation.
All that will be lost if a road is allowed to pass through, no more will the children play pooh-sticks on the bridge or build dams and paddle in the stream.
And then you have the spectre of yet more housebuilding to in-fill the gap between road and city and it will happen if a new road is built to the north and our city, once admired for it beauty, will be swallowed up in a sea of nondescript conurbation.
At a time when we may well need to think of ways to be more self sufficient we cover productive agricultural land with concrete and Tarmac... The short sightedness is simply staggering.
Tim Aldridge, Fordwater Cottages, East Lavant