Traffic fears for Manhood residents over A27 scheme

Journey times could get longer on the roads to Wittering and Selsey as a result of the scheme, Highways figures show
Journey times could get longer on the roads to Wittering and Selsey as a result of the scheme, Highways figures show

Congestion on the two main roads leading from the Manhood Peninsula to Chichester could be made worse by the A27 improvement scheme.

Highways England’s figures show that two of the five proposed options being considered would actually increase traffic from Manhood over the next 20 years.

Highways England's traffic forecasts for local roads surrounding Chichester's A27

Highways England's traffic forecasts for local roads surrounding Chichester's A27

Option 1A would see journey times increase on the A286 to the Witterings by 10 per cent by 2035, and the B2145 towards Selsey by 6 per cent.

Option 3 would see an increase of 1 per cent on the A286, and 2 per cent on the B2145, while Options 1 and 3A would only lead to marginal improvements, at most 3 per cent.

The Highways figures show that Option 2, the most expensive and including a new Stockbridge link road, would be the only one to provide meaningful relief to both roads, at around a 20 per cent journey time reduction.

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With many of the five options also restricting exits on and off the bypass from both roads, a warning has been sounded that more traffic will be funnelled through Chichester or be forced to slingshot around the A27 at busy times.

Although up to 5mins 40secs could be shaved off peak journey times along the bypass, according to Highways figures, with the impact being negative or only negligiable for connecting roads, questions are being asked if local people will benefit from the scheme at all.

Carolyn Cobbold is a member of the Manhood Peninsula Partnership, and warns that vital tourism money brought in from Selsey, Wittering and Bracklesham could be hit as a result.

She said: “The purpose of a bypass is to ‘let traffic flow without interference from local traffic and to reduce congestion in the built-up area’.

“None of the five remaining options for the A27 will achieve these aims.

“Any option that involves restricting exits on and off the Manhood Peninsula, such as no right hand turns, will inevitably force more local traffic either through Chichester itself or to drive longer distances up and down the A27.

“When the local roads on the Manhood are congested or blocked, many residents rely on being able to use all the current A27 junctions.”

She quoted Highways’ own consultation document saying ‘significant adverse effects are anticipated in terms of community severance’ for all five options, adding that her ability to visit and care for family members in Bosham could be made more difficult, regardless of which option is taken forward.

“We must also consider the impact on the Manhood’s and Chichester’s environment and its closely linked tourist economy,” Carolyn said.

“Flyovers potentially disrupting unique views of the Cathedral from cyclepaths and footpaths used by residents and visitors; more local traffic opting to take short cuts through the town or across the middle of the peninsula, disrupting the quiet roads currently used by cyclists and crossed by walkers.

“Unfortunately, the consultation dates for the Manhood peninsula, the community whose economy, environment and social cohesion are most under threat, are all in September, the same month the consultation ends.

“As a result, I urge all Manhood residents to try and have a look at the proposals in advance and consider carefully the consequences of all options – socially, economically and environmentally.

“At the moment I will be ticking the box that says ‘No Option’ but will be very happy to be convinced otherwise.”

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