LETTER: New access route needed

Richard Brownfield draws attention to the implications for Chichester of the plan to build 1,600 houses to the west of Centurion Way (Observer, 2 June).

The impact of traffic from this development on Orchard Street and St Paul’s Road is likely to be particularly severe.

Air quality will suffer.

Because of heavy traffic the northern part of Orchard Street is one of three designated Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) in Chichester where measurements are taken for nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 ).

Stipulated pollution levels have already been breached.

There is growing medical evidence of the harm caused by vehicle pollution. It not only kills but as a recent report from the Royal College of Physicians, Every Breath We Take: the lifelong impact of air pollution has highlighted, it has a role in many major health conditions including cancer, asthma, strokes and heart disease.

The effects of exposure to air pollution last across a lifetime, and infancy and early childhood are particularly vulnerable times.

With two schools immediately adjacent to the AQMA and with many of the residential properties very close to the road kerb, we have to do all we can to minimise traffic growth.

At present on an average weekday there are 16,000 vehicle movements along Orchard Street, a figure that according to the Jacobs Study is predicted to increase by 40 percent by 2031.

The extra traffic on an already extremely busy route will be very slow moving at peak times, and this is the real killer since it is stationary traffic that generates the highest volumes of nitrogen dioxide and particulates.

To crown it all the developers propose to route all the construction traffic from the A27 along Orchard Street, Northgate and St Paul’s Road to a single entrance to Whitehouse Farm from Broyle Road: we face well over a decade of contractors’ vehicles grinding their way along congested residential streets.

What would help alleviate these conditions, as Dr Brownfield suggests, is the construction of a Southern Access Route to the development right from the outset.

This has to be built at some time since it is an integral part of the developer’s Masterplan for the site.

So let’s see it built at the start of Phase 1 rather than delayed until Phase 2, and thus spare Chichester at least some of the congestion and misery it otherwise faces.

Highway infrastructure can be used to enhance residents’ lives as was done for the A259 Bognor Regis/North Bersted relief road in a scheme largely funded by housing developers as a condition for planning permission. Why not Chichester?

Tim Rooth

Chair, Orchard Street and Old Somerstown Area Residents’ Association

Orchard Street

Chichester