MP backs residents worries over Oving lights’ removal

CONCERNS residents’ views have been overlooked have prompted an MP to wade into the Shopwyke Lakes debate.

Following a decision by the Chichester District Council to permit a 500-home development by Hanbury Properties, outraged Oving residents lodged a complaint about the manner in which the decision was made.

Now, Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie has backed their concerns, saying the town’s needs seem to have been ‘set aside’ in the decision – which also sees the controversial removal of the Oving traffic lights.

“Oving’s needs seem to have been set aside,” Mr Tyrie told the Observer this week.

“I have written to Steve Carvell, the director of environment at Chichester District Council, and to Angela Koenig at the Highways Agency, to share residents’ concerns.”

The Shopwyke Lakes application was approved in May, having already been deferred earlier in the year in a bid to find an alternative to closing the lights.

Following the decision, furious residents criticised what they saw as the Highways Agency ‘blackmailing’ the committee into voting in favour of the development.

Ron Migliorini, then chairman of Oving Parish Council, wrote a letter complaining the Highways Agency had indicated it would veto any alternative solutions to the removal of the Oving traffic lights.

“The audience, including many of our parish councillors, was horrified and appalled as this so blatantly flew in the face of democratic process,” he wrote.

Cllr Migliorini, who is now vice chairman of the parish council, has now received an initial district council response to his complaint.

“Basically, they absolutely refuted the fact the chairman was intransigent. They misread my letter completely,” he said.

Cllr Migliorini said the complaint actually centred on the role the Highways Agency played in the decision – not on the role of committee chairman Pieter Montyn.

Following the response, he said there was a collective decision to go to stage two of the complaints procedure.

Oving Parish Council has now sent a letter detailing its concerns to Diane Shepherd, chief executive of Chichester District Council and is awaiting a response.

As well as the complaint lodged with Chichester District Council, a number of residents wrote to Mr Tyrie to express their grave concerns about the decision, prompting his comments this week.

A Chichester District Council spokeswoman was unable to comment before the Observer went to press.