Scrapping crossroads labelled as ‘retrograde’

Oving crossroads
Oving crossroads

A GROUNDSWELL of support has seen parishes flocking together to keep the Oving crossroad open.

The A27 crossing is set to be shut as part of Hanbury Properties’ 500-home scheme at Shopwyke Lakes.

However, Oving Parish Council has made its own planning application to Chichester District Council that would see the lights retained.

Speaking of the level of support received from parishes and the public, Oving’s chairman Sjoerd Schuyleman said: “We’re in fact extremely grateful to the surrounding parish councils for submitting their views.

“We’re encouraged by the comments that they’ve submitted but also that others have submitted.

“I think there are only two personal comments against, from that point of view it’s actually gone very well.”

An online e-petition has also garnered 1,778 signatures at the time of writing.

Parish, town and city councils from as far afield as Aldingbourne, Aldwick, Tangmere, North Mundham, Chichester, Bognor Regis, Barnham, Felpham, Bersted all supported Oving and called for the lights to remain open.

North Mundham said it wanted to state its ‘wholehearted support’ for Oving, describing the crossroad closure as a ‘retrograde step’ for the A27.

“If the Oving Road is closed to traffic at its junction with the A27, all the traffic that uses the road for access either side of the A27 will be forced to find an alternative route,” said the council in its submission to Chichester District Council.

“This will lead to greater pressure on the other junctions, most significantly the Bognor roundabout which is already congested and especially difficult to negotiate when entering it from any of the roads except the A27.

“Because of this difficulty, it is inevitable that there will be an increase in rat running through the new development at Shopwyke Lakes and additional traffic on other minor roads in the area, such as Marsh Lane, as traffic diverts to the B2166 and B2145 to use the Hunston roundabout.”

Oving has been fighting the decision to close the crossroads for the past few years.

While it does not object to the 500-home plan on the brownfield site, it has always questioned the decision to scrap the crossroads, saying it would make it harder for people to access St Richard’s Hospital from the east and it would greatly increase traffic on the Portfield and Bognor roundabouts.

The campaign group LOLA (Leave Oving Lights Alone), run by the parish council, has been very active and the online petition against the crossroad closure can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65425.

The application is available to view by visiting www.chichester.gov.uk and searching for application 14/01777/OUT.