A27 safety stats slammed as being ‘totally misleading’

The Oving crossroads
The Oving crossroads

‘IF IT ain’t broke don’t fix it’.

That was the consensus this week as Chichester City Council backed a proposal to prevent the scrapping of the Oving crossroad on the A27.

For two years, Oving Parish Council has battled to keep the crossroad, as it stands to be removed as part of the 500-home Shopwyke Lakes development.

The parish has submitted its own planning application to the district council that would see the lights retained and has won the backing of numerous parishes, Chichester City being the latest.

“I think it’s very important from a local point of view that we keep these lights open. It seems to me the safety grounds have gone out the window,” said city councillor Richard Plowman.

“It makes eminent common sense to keep those as a way of getting on the A27 as a way for people who find it difficult using those roundabouts.”

The roundabouts in question are Portfield and Bognor, which the committee agreed were difficult for drivers to use.

Oving’s chairman Sjoerd Schuyleman gave a presentation to the city council’s planning committee last Wednesday, in which he laid out the results of an independent traffic survey commissioned by the parish.

The survey concluded the average number of accidents per year at the crossroads was one-and-a-half, significantly less than the five accidents reported by the Highways Agency as part of Hanbury Properties’ application for Shopwyke Lakes.

Cllr Schuyleman described the Highways Agency’s figures as ‘totally misleading’.

He said: “The closure of this junction has been described by many users as being madness.”

Members of the planning committee also said there did not appear to be a clear plan about what was going to happen to the crossroads.

Some suggestions indicated a toucan crossing could be introduced, which would stop A27 traffic anyway. Others mentioned a footbridge.

Oving councillor Liz Smith was also at the meeting.

“The thing that struck me, particularly when I looked at this, is what it didn’t say. They don’t seem to know what they’re saying,” she said of the Highways Agency.

The Highways Agency said it stood by the original advice it gave on the housing plan.

“The number of collisions is taken from official, validated road safety statistics, which are published each year,” a spokesman said. The application, 14/01777/OUT, has 16 letters of support online at www.chichester.gov.uk. There is also a petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65425|epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65425}