A27 Stockbridge Link Road plans could be dropped

Plans for a Stockbridge Link Road south of the A27 could be dropped by Chichester District Council.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 5:30 pm
The proposed Stockbridge Link Road would join the A27 at the Fishbourne roundabout

The new road, running from the Fishbourne roundabout to the A286 Birdham Road, have formed part of the mitigation measures put forward in the council’s local plan review.

However many have questioned the rationale for the link road and the damage it would cause to the natural environment.

But following further work, CDC officers have concluded the link road ‘is currently not fundable or deliverable through the local plan process and therefore should not be proceeded with unless or until there is a significant change in circumstances’.

Their recommendations are due to be discussed at an all member session on the local plan and strategic infrastructure on Thursday (July 29).

As central government funding has not been secured for an all-ecompassing scheme to improve the A27 at Chichester, the district council is required to identify smaller scale measures required to mitigate the impact of proposed housing development.

Due to a range of concerns raised with the Stockbridge Link Road, work was carried out to consider the implications of its removal from the proposed transport mitigation package.

This confirmed the local plan mitigation without the link road included would not be adequate to mitigate the impact of extra traffic.

A potential ‘hamburger junction’ was then identified as an alternative approach at the Stockbridge roundabout, but this also would not be able to accommodate the level of anticipated traffic by the end of the local plan period.

Officers said it is clear that from projected funding sources it is not currently possible to fully secure the money necessary to be able to deliver the full level of development envisaged in the preferred approach plan published in late 2018.

As the Stockbridge Link Road is the single most expensive element of the mitigation package and ‘has a number of delivery issues’, officers are recommending it be essentially shelved unless there is significant change in circumstances.

Their report says: “In light of the recently established funding constraints for transport mitigation, further work in this regard is underway.

“An alternative, ‘infrastructure constrained’ approach to development is being discussed with transport consultants Stantec and will be used to inform further discussions with the highway authorities to seek an agreed basis for determining how much development can be accommodated, where it can be accommodated and whether it can proceed now or needs to be phased.”

Officers go on to say that although an agreement has not yet been reached with the highway authorities, it is reasonable to conclude that this issue has significant implications for the level of development which could be accommodated, specifically in the southern part of the plan area, though with implications for the total level of development which could be achieved.

Wastewater capacity has been another critical issue during work on the local plan review.

Officers said: “Ongoing discussions with Southern Water and the Environment Agency have concluded that whilst ultimately an engineering solution can be found to accommodate future growth, environmental limitations are a constraint, particularly in the western part of the plan area.

“The parties have not yet reached an agreed position, although work on a statement of common ground is being progressed.

“So far, Southern Water has not stated that, notwithstanding the acknowledged environmental capacity issues which affect some of their waste water treatment works, that new development could not be served in some other way, for instance by delivering a new long sea outfall or amendments to their network to reroute waste water to a more appropriate works. Nonetheless, considerable concern remains that the plan is necessarily being brought forward but without certainty on this important issue.”