BEHIND THE HEADLINES: Debate rages over £3m traffic scheme for Chichester

Westhampnett Road junction - the two mini roundabouts between St Pancras and Westhampnett Road.LA1500007-2 SUS-150316-103126008
Westhampnett Road junction - the two mini roundabouts between St Pancras and Westhampnett Road.LA1500007-2 SUS-150316-103126008

A THREE-MILLION-POUND scheme to improve traffic flows around Chichester has prompted residents to question options for the future of two major junctions in the city.

As the Observer reported last week, the results of a Chichester junctions feasibility study, presented to members of the south Chichester county local committee meeting last Tuesday, provided three options for improving traffic flow at the Northgate Gyratory and Westhampnett Road.

Junctions feasibility plans

Junctions feasibility plans

The options have received a mixed response from councillors and the community, with some saying the mini roundabouts on Westhampnett Road need removing and others saying funds should be used elsewhere.

Neil Holley-Williams said on Facebook: “Anything that takes the decision process of navigating a mini roundabout away, eg traffic lights, can only be a good thing.

“It will stop people at mini roundabouts sitting staring at each other as to who has right of way. Why oh why is the confusion at these roundabouts directly proportional to its size?

“The smaller the roundabout, the higher the confusion seems to be. Why? It’s a roundabout.”

Other residents said the £3m investment would be better made at the Tesco junction.

Lynn Boxall said: “They work as they are so leave alone.

“Tesco is worse now they have altered the road leading to Tesco from A27. Trying to get from Fishbourne toward Tesco is an accident waiting to happen.”

Debra Ann Hellyer added: “Do something about the Tesco roundabout. It’s dreadful using it. Everyone drives too fast and there’s so many traffic jams etc.”

Council leader Louise Goldsmith said although she had her concerns about the options provided, she knew the improvements were needed.

“Part of me says thank goodness part of Westhampnett is being looked at because it gets particularly clogged.”

However she said she was concerned the consultant’s preferred option for the Westhampnett junction included banning right turns from Spitalfield Lane to A285 St Pancras, which would cause some traffic to re-route through residential roads such as Melbourne Road and Adelaide Road.

Paul Eagle, who presented the study to the CLC, said only one per cent of traffic which used that junction made that turning but he said further analysis of the impact on other roads would be needed if this option was chosen.

Cllr Margaret Evans said her main concern would be to ensure any traffic lights were traffic sensitive to ensure they did not cause unnecessary queues.

Cllr Simon Oakley said more cycle route enhancements would need to be made elsewhere to allow cyclists to get to the Northgate Gyratory, otherwise the cycle crossings would not be used.

The council hopes to have to preliminary design made by 2016/17, the detailed design by 2017/18 and it hopes to start construction in 2018/19.