Angry motorists call for action to solve Goodwood Festival of Speed ‘hell’

Congestion was a regular fixture around Chichester during the Festival of Speed
Congestion was a regular fixture around Chichester during the Festival of Speed

Exasperated Chichester motorists have called for Goodwood to take action to try to solve the annual traffic jams during the Festival of Speed.

The world-renowned motor festival ran from Thursday to Sunday, and saw five-mile tailbacks and huge congestion most mornings.

The famous event attracts thousands of people from all over the country, including motor racers like Jenson Button. Michael John Reed/REEDIMAGE

The famous event attracts thousands of people from all over the country, including motor racers like Jenson Button. Michael John Reed/REEDIMAGE

An accident on Saturday morning, in which a motorcyclist was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital with ‘serious injuries’, caused additional traffic chaos, with roads leading to the motor circuit closed for around five hours.

A number of frustrated motorists have written to the Observer about the traffic during the festival, which nearly always clogs up the Chichester bypass and surrounding villages.

Chichester resident Mrs Heald said on Saturday: “Am I alone in wondering if the Earl of March is unaware of the chaos and distress he is causing the good citizens of Chichester?

“I ask as my husband has at another attempt today, finally managed to get to our daughter’s house in Surrey after an abortive two hour journey yesterday to fix a household emergency.

Many think city businesses suffer with Chichester 'empty' during the event

Many think city businesses suffer with Chichester 'empty' during the event

“The Festival of Speed for those who attend it, provides wonderfully exciting, fun packed days and I sincerely wish them great enjoyment of this event.

“We are told these Goodwood events bring a lot of money to local businesses in this area which in turn benefits its residents!

“So my question is, exactly how many local businesses are involved in these events? Perhaps Goodwood can let me know.

“I do however believe that Chichester suffers from losses in relation to revenue at these times.

“Having just returned from my walk into and back from town (no buses could get through on time with many being cancelled) I saw for myself the almost abandoned car park at Northgate, the empty shops and the handful of people in the precinct.

“Talking to those who did eventually manage to get to their shops and offices, the complaint was the same. ‘It’s very nice for the Goodwood coffers but we have been stuck in our cars unable to get to work on time, we are frustrated and angry and no one seems to care.”

She also questioned the lack of police to control the ‘hot spots’ while Chichester was ‘for several hours each day totally gridlocked with waiting times and never ending queues.”

She called on the Earl of March to experience a car journey into Chichester during a Goodwood event.

While others also complained about the traffic, some defended the organisers.

Neil Holley-Williams wrote on the Observer’s Facebook page: “A27 No different to most weekends really, especially if there’s an accident. Goodwood makes traffic heavier locally generally esp. To the North, but it’s managed well.

“It’s not like it comes as a surprise is it? It’s on the calendar!”

However Louise Skillicorn responded: “Absolute hell!! Takes three times as long to get anywhere and managed very poorly.

“We have had to stay in all weekend because of it! Yes it’s on the calendar but still a huge impact!”

Meanwhile a steward who was redirecting traffic following the major accident close to Gate Four said one driver completely ignored his instruction to turn around.

Alan Bevan said: “Most drivers were polite and considerate. A few however were slightly rude, and one man in particular I felt was very rude and arrogant.

“When I tried to ask him to turn his car around, he demanded to see my ID.

“As I had not been issued with ID, I gave him the contact number of the contract company who I was working under. I then advised him to speak to the person in charge.

“He simply ignored this swerved and drove off, rather than turning round.

“I just felt he was the kind of person who thinks because they have money, they can treat other people like dirt.

“He had his son in the car, and drove a Range Rover. I am a teaching assistant, and I did think to myself, what sort of example was he setting for his son, as a positive role model?”

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