Official: Residents can vote for an A27 bypass alternative.
Highways England is giving local residents the opportunity to let them know if they believe that none of the proposed A27 options will benefit them by ticking the option box in its questionnaire labelled ‘NO OPTION’. Residents are also being invited to make alternative suggestions for traffic improvement in a separate box. These alternatives CAN include other bypass options, including those previously considered, whose details can be found on Highways England’s website.
Figures provided by Highways England suggest that none of the proposals currently under consultation will make significant savings on local journey times and several of them will actually increase some local journeys times. Meanwhile, four of the five options will restrict local traffic movements by including NO RIGHT HAND TURNS at the Stockbridge and Whyke junctions. This will involve local traffic making longer journeys along the A27, rat running through Chichester, travelling through the interior of the Manhood Peninsula, or the villages of North Mundham and Runcton. When the A286 to the Witterings or the B2145 to Selsey are congested or blocked, residents’ ability to use alternative routes will be severely reduced. Option 2, which proposes a link road from the Fishbourne Roundabout across the A286, the B2201, the Canal and joining the B2145/B2166 roundabout while removing the Stockbridge and Whyke road roundabouts, will mean Selsey traffic will also become blocked by West Wittering beach traffic.
ChichesterDeservesBetter, the campaign group opposing the Northern Bypass, has already stated that all the options except Option 2 are just sticking plasters that will not improve traffic in the longer term. Best4Chichester, however, argues that Option 2 is simply a more expensive sticking plaster that will, according to Highways England, require upgrading just 13 years after its completion. Information on the Highways own website shows that Option 2 is only 10% cheaper than Option 5, one of the Northern Bypass options. The Northern Bypass, Option 5 in the Highways England study, meanwhile, brings far more benefits for both through and local traffic with less impact on the Chichester Harbour AONB, the visitor economy and local people’s day to day lives.
Comparisons between Option 2 (Fishbourne to Hunston Link Road) and Option 5 (Northern Bypass).
Option 2 will cost £280.2 million, require the removal of 20 homes, will involve the creation of a raised road (due to flood risk) across open fields on one of the last remaining undeveloped coastal plains in the south east. The Option 2 link road will be completed in 2022 but will have reached capacity by 2035 when it will require upgrading to a part-dual carriageway. (Before joining the single lane road to the Wittering Beaches!). The construction delay costs (or costs incurred by business and residents due to disruption during construction) are estimated to be £25 million for Option 2, more than 30 times higher than the £0.8 million costs for Option 5. A major fact to be considered is the impact of traffic disruption on the Manhood Peninsula’s important tourism economy, which represents over half the entire Chichester District tourism economy. The Fishbourne flyover and link road will have ‘signficant adverse effects’ on the Fishbourne and Chichester Conservation Areas and the Chichester Harbour AONB and the Manhood peninsula’s natural habitat and landscape. The degradation to the environment, loss of important views of the Cathedral and Downs from the peninsula and the impairment to recreational cycling and walking across the Manhood will also impact the local visitor economy. In addition, Option 2 results in worsening noise levels, while Option 5 shows an overall noise improvement.
Option 5 will cost £307.80 million (10% more than Option 2), require the removal of 8 homes (60% less than Option 2), and will involve the construction of a partially new road circumventing the northern edge of Chichester, outside of the South Downs National Park and south of Lavant. Option 5 shows ‘higher journey time improvements across all routes’ than Option 2. Option 5 also will create better access to Goodwood and improve accessibility to other tourism locations in the area, including the coast. The predicted reduction in accident costs for Option 5 is £73.6 million, compared to just £8.4 million for Option 2, while air improvement is also better for Option 5 than for Option 2.
The Chichester Observer is running a poll where local residents can vote for their favourite option currently under consultation. Readers can also vote for NONE OF THEM. By choosing to reject all the options currently out for consultation does NOT mean no bypass or improvements in the future but will make Highways understand local’s concerns and work harder to address them.
District Councillor Graeme Barrett