What is this all about?

Introduction

'Chichester Deserves Better' is about fighting to keep control of the way Chichester and the surrounding West Sussex area is developed over the next 50 years.

 

Whilst we agree that a new scheme is needed to improve the flow of traffic through the area, we are warning that a bypass would not just be a bypass – it would take our future hostage.

 

Build a new bypass and Chichester loses all control over properly planned development. No longer will the city be able to grow in a planned, organic way. Instead, everything will be built in the lung of land closed in by the bypass. 

 

Build a bypass, and you’re also opening up the entire area to new industrial estates, shopping centres, housing estates. That’s where they will go, and nowhere else. The future development of the city and the surrounding area will have been set in concrete by the bypass.

 

So this doesn’t just affect people living along the route of the proposed bypass. It affects everyone living in West Sussex. Chichester deserves a better plan.

 

Don’t let the road builders tell us how Chichester is going to grow over the next 50 years. Instead, let’s improve the route we already have.

 

That’s a much better plan for Chichester and West Sussex.

Background

 

The A27 is a vital road along the south coast and, as part of the government’s strategy to improve key routes, Highways England is examining a range of options for resolving traffic issues.

 

The section of the A27 to the south of Chichester is notoriously problematic and Highways England is tasked with finding a solution to the problem.

 

There are currently a number of options being looked at which include both online improvements, i.e. upgrading and altering the existing route as well as two offline options, both of which are a new bypass to the north of the City.

 

Highways England, in its own brief HERE , under “strategy and considerations” states the main issues that the scheme should try to address.

 

In data gathered some time ago, it was suggested that up to 80% of the traffic using the A27 was actually local traffic and not through traffic. Whilst these figures are disputed by some as being out of date and that the figure should be nearer 60 -70% it is, nonetheless, clear that the existing system needs significant improvement.

 

The proposed route is yet to be published by Highways England and will not be so until Spring 2016, but it is now common knowledge that it will be a dual carriageway, the proposed routes would leave at the northern edge of Fishbourne, heading North close to Salthill Road, then close to Hunters Race towards Lavant, then head across the ‘Daffodil Field’ that separates Lavant from Summersdale, before continuing along the northern edge of the Goodwood motor circuit and finally joining with the existing road close to Tangmere.

 

Along its way it will go across vital farmland, through private properties and local businesses, it will impact on the setting of historic buildings, and will, for much of its route, come close to the South Downs National Park boundary, and at one point actually cross in to it. No amount of screening will ever mitigate its impact from the park and both noise and light will spill over the boundary, having a significant impact on the park.

 

The City will be severed from The Downs which it has shared a setting with for centuries. Experts that have been consulted are advising that it is without question that the northern fringes of the City will then become prime development space up to the new bypass in the course of a generation.

All this will result in a bypass that leaves no finances to address the issues on the existing road for through traffic, but more importantly local traffic.

 

The proposal of a new bypass therefore simply does not address the issues. Its limited benefits to the city and the wider area as a whole simply do not outweigh the damage that it will cause.

 

The Alternative

 

The options to improve the existing route are a clearly better solution. A series of improvements to the existing road will not only allow a better flow of traffic past the city for through traffic, but it will allow priorities at intersections to be changed and addressed to improve the flow of local traffic using the road.

 

This will improve the road system for those living in the city and the villages to the south as well as reducing the number of people using the current ‘rat runs’ through villages to both the north and south to avoid the existing congestion.

 

The benefits for the area as a whole are clear.