Call for new thinking on Chichester’s busy roads

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A call for ‘urgent new thinking’ about roads in a busy and congested part of Chichester has gone out, amid growing fears for the future as a result of new development.

The city council’s planning and conservation deferred a decision for the third time on whether or not to object to proposals for the Shopwyke Lakes housing project, close to the A27. This was because neither the Highways Agency nor West Sussex County Coucil had commented on the highway situation in the area.

A final decision on an application for planning permission for up to 500 houses will be taken by Chichester District Council, after considering the views of the city council and others.

Cllr Michael Woolley, chairman of the city committee, said it would be quite wrong for councillors to take a decision on this major development without considering the effect on the roads.

“The Highways Agency is responsible for the A27 and the county council for the three roads between Shopwyke and central Chichester,” he added.

“Personally I am particularly concerned about the effect on the roads into Chichester, as all are a problem. Westhampnett Road regularly gets blocked at busy times, Oving Road is effectively single track in parts and Bognor Road is not really wide enough for parking and bus route.”

Five hundred extra houses would make the problems much worse – and in addition there were other pressures expected – the new houses at Graylingwell, the proposed Barnfield Drive retail warehouses, and houses planned for the Portfield football ground.

“We need some urgent new thinking about the road infrastructure in this part of the city,” said Cllr Woolley.

“For example, many city councillors would like to see Kingsmead Avenue extended west to Broyle Road, bypassing Westhampnett Road and Spitalfield Lane.

“It would not solve all the problems but it would be a help. Strategic thinking of this type is urgently needed if we are to build major new schemes like Shopwyke Lakes.”