More than 1,000 people back petition to save Oving traffic lights

Oving Lights TRO schematic. Photo: West Sussex County Council
Oving Lights TRO schematic. Photo: West Sussex County Council

"Everyone would be in danger and it's totally unacceptable."

Those were the words of one of the campaigners behind a petition against the proposed closure of traffic lights at a busy Chichester junction.

A formal consultation, which is due to end today (Monday, November 11), was opened last month into the closure of the Oving lights crossroads over the A27 as West Sussex County Council looks to create a traffic regulation order. Read more here
The TRO will legally prevent all traffic, apart from buses travelling northbound, from exiting the B2144 Oving Road east at the A27 junction. Chichester District Council attempted to change the plans to keep the lights, but was overruled by the government.

According to the county council, the order is proposed to 'avoid danger' to people or traffic using the road and to 'facilitate the passage on the road of any class of traffic, including pedestrians'.

However, a petition against the proposal, created by Shopwyke Lakes Community, has been signed more than 1,000 times in under a week.

John Marchant-Brodie, an Oving resident who is one of the campaigners behind the petition, said: "The diversion will make all the cars drive through the [Shopwyke Lakes] estate, which full of young families with kids.

"It has been estimated that 7,000 cars a week would go through that estate, causing high levels of pollution. It would make it a rat run, which would be a safety hazard.

"There would be nothing to slow the traffic down. Everyone would be in danger and it's totally unacceptable."

John said closing the Oving traffic lights would also 'clog up an already busy and extremely congested' part of the A27.

He added: "It is the only crossing out of the A27 that is managed and it is the only way to get out of the city. If you make it buses only, all the cars are going to go on the A27 unnecessarily.

"It is going to make the road a standstill. Chichester is going to be grinded to a halt. It's beyond comprehension and we want to get it overturned."

Fellow campaigner Luke Keogh said the petition is 'calling for the powers that be' to reconsider.

"The closure of these lights is going to be a nightmare," he said. "The roundabout is already heaving as it is so it is only going to cause more problems.

"We want to raise a formal objection to the TRO. We are looking for as many comments as possible and we want people to sign the online petition."

Sjoerd Schuyleman, who has led the Leave Oving Lights Alone campaign, has fought to save the lights for six years.

He said: "It is very close to my heart. I am pleased that a petition has been set up, it's entirely appropriate. It is the next step in the fight. am very keen that we do anything we can do.

"It is the most reliable crossing on the A27 and Chichester Bypass and closing the lights would cause traffic chaos to more than 7,000 people. That's how many people use those traffic lights everyday.

"The alternatives are completely unacceptable."

In its TRO document, the county council provided a 'statement of reasons' for the proposal.

It read: "As part of the Shopwyke Lakes development a comprehensive package of transport mitigation measures were designed to safely integrate traffic from the development onto the existing strategic and local road networks.

"One aspect of this is to ensure that the A27 continues to be an effective part of the national system of routes for through-traffic under the Highways Act.

"In accordance with the transport strategy associated with the adopted Local Plan it was agreed that the existing signalised junction of Oving Road and the A27 would be closed to all traffic with the exception of certain bus movements.

"The junction is being re-engineered so that vehicles will be prohibited from entering and crossing over the A27 carriageway from east (Oving Road) to west."

Comments can be made on county council consultation until the end of the day (Monday).

Click here to sign the petition, which has a target of 1,500 signatures.