Anger at Sherborne Road closure suggestion to ease Whitehouse Farm traffic

Permission in principle has been granted for 750 homes at Whitehouse Farm development, with phase 2 expected next year
Permission in principle has been granted for 750 homes at Whitehouse Farm development, with phase 2 expected next year

Proposals which include closing part of a busy residential road off to cars to ease increased traffic to a huge new housing development to the west of Chichester have been labelled ‘outrageous’.

Allowing only buses, cyclists and residents through Sherborne Road is one of the recommendations made in an Infrastructure Review of Whitehouse Farm.

Dissecting the mini roundabout linking Sherborne Road and Westgate – where a new southern access to the proposed 1,600-home development will be built – to restrict movement has also been suggested, which would cut off direct access to the A27 for many residents.

The Infrastructure Review has been commissioned by West Sussex County Council to look at the five infrastructure schemes which form part of the application for the first phase of 750 homes, which has a resolution to grant planning permission.

The review document states: “A re-design of the (Sherborne Road/Westgate) junction such as this, in conjunction with the suggested measures along Sherborne Road, would have significant implications on the distribution of traffic flows around the western and central parts of Chichester.

“Current residents within the western part of Chichester would face a longer drive to reach the A27, but would not be directly impacted by longer queues arising from the proposed development traffic.

“Traffic flows may increase on St Paul’s Road, Orchard Street, Avenue De Chartres and Via Ravenna and the highways authority (WSCC) would have to decide if this was acceptable.”

Angry Exeter Road resident Mike White said: “The favoured option appears to be one which completely stops short and straightforward access via Sherborne Road to the A27, Tesco and Chichester College.

“The reason given is that the Whitehouse Farm development will generate too much additional traffic on Sherborne Road.

“It is an outrageous cheek to make existing residents suffer for the benefit of developers who can and should provide a known solution to problems they cause on land which they are developing.”

The review has been produced by Paul Basham Associates (PBA) to help guide a new Infrastructure Steering Group, yet to be established, which will be made up of representatives from the developer, both the county and district council and residents’ associations.

Identifying ‘a number of inconsistencies’ in the schemes proposed by the developers’ consultant Vectos, the review suggests ‘significant alternatives’ to what is in the planning document.

They include:

* New Traffic Regulation Orders for Sherborne Road and closing it off to through traffic between Oliver Whitby Road and Durnford Close (buses, cyclists and access only), which it says would ‘increase the amount of traffic using Whitby Road and Sherlock Avenue’ but make it ‘less attractive for through traffic’.

* Dissecting the mini roundabout linking Sherborne Road and Westgate so travel would only be possible between the western and southern approaches, and the northern and eastern approaches – cutting direct route from Sherbourne Road to the A27. It says Vectos’ transport assessment shows the roundabout will exceed the 85 per cent capacity threshold when Phase 2 is built.

* Reducing the amount of on-street parking along Westgate to allow a longer cycle way, and to explore a one-way system.

* Minor refinement of the developer’s plans to remove the Westgate roundabout linking Westgate, Orchard Street, Wall Cottage Drive, West Street and Avenue De Chartres and replace it with signalled crossroads, a T-junction and on-street cycle lanes on each approach.

* Small refinements to the developer’s plans to close Brandy Hole Lane using bollards or similar which the review states ‘may lead to an increase in traffic using either Hunters Race or Northwich Road’.

A second planning application for 850 houses is expected in 2018, the infrastructure review states.

Meanwhile, the Bronze Age settlement discovery at Whitehouse Farm is not expected to delay the building of houses.

Joanna Bell, development manager at Chichester District Council, told last week’s planning meeting: “I had a long discussion with our archaeologist James Kenny, yes he is aware of it.

“I did ask him what the impact would be on the development and he said there would be further work and further studies but he didn’t believe it would significantly change any time scales, but it might be more appropriate to have a discussion with him.”

The first phase of the Whitehouse Farm development has resolution to permit permission for 750 homes with access off Old Broyle Road, employment, retail and community space, a primary school and playing pitches (reference 14/04301/OUT).

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