LETTER: Southerners matter less

As someone who lives 15 miles west of Chichester, only visiting a few times per year, I feel able to comment on the A27 saga with impartiality.

It appears that tens of thousands of people, who live in Bognor, Selsey, The Witterings and the ever-increasing population on The Manhood Peninsula, seem to matter much less to ‘the powers that be’, than the smaller and mostly (but not entirely) wealthier communities with louder voices to the north of the city.

For three decades the people south of the A27 have endured daily gridlock, trying to reach their workplace and return home therefrom.

Additionally, there is a massive ageing population struggling to access shops, banks and medical services which are becoming ever more centralised.

They often need to visit spouses and family members in hospital and in care homes dotted around the city.

Neither should we forget the children educated in the city.

All these people would gain a much better quality of life if the 42 per cent through-traffic is diverted north.

I appreciate the concerns about the South Downs, and their natural beauty must certainly be rigorously defended, but there is a small belt of land just north of Chichester which is pleasantly rural but is fairly flat and without great character.

The road could be routed so as to only affect the southern part of Goodwood, running just north of the Rolls Royce factory and the village of Westhampnett.

The large number of Goodwood events every summer are the cause of even greater congestion problems, so they really have no grounds to complain about something that will enable free-flowing traffic, and should encourage more visitors and greater income. New woodlands can be cultivated to screen the view and lessen the noise of the road.

Another point that never gets mentioned is that if a northern by-pass is not built, there is going to be more and more new housing with Chichester completely joined to Lavant in an urban sprawl in any case.

Those living north of Chichester can still enjoy wonderful views if they walk, cycle or drive along the Downs, but those to the south do not have the luxury of elevated views which will be spoiled by flyovers, etc!

The by-pass to the north of Bognor has been a success, and a good road to the north of Chichester will secure great benefits to the West Sussex economy and the quality of life for its residents for the next 100 years.

Apart from the arguments above, has anyone stopped to think of the chaos to be endured while piecemeal improvements to the A27 are carried out south of the city?

I can envisage the existing by-pass becoming a gigantic car-park, such will be the gridlock. To use a modern phrase, it really is a ‘no-brainer’! At present, on the thankfully, few occasions I travel roughly 40 miles from Waterlooville to Worthing, it takes three times longer than it takes to travel 60 miles to London – I rest my case!

Bob Woodhead

Newlands Road, Purbrook