VOTE: A boost for the A27?

Improvements to at least part of Chichester’s congested A27 bypass could be carried out sooner rather than later, reducing delays – despite a hold-up which has hit the Highways Agency’s plans to upgrade the whole length of the road.

Cash for the scheme be provided by the company planning the ambitious new Shopwyke Lakes housing development, proposed for an area close to the A27, it has emerged.

Hanbury Properties are seeking planning consent for up to 500 new homes on the 31-hectare site, as well as providing 12.5 hectares of parkland.

City councillors were told that if planning consent was granted, the developers would implement improvements to locations including the Oving traffic lights and the Portfield roundabout.

A final decision on the application will be made by the district council.

The city’s planning and conservation committee agreed to postpone a decision on whether or not to object to the scheme until it hears the response from the Highways Agency and West Sussex County Council on the road proposals.

Committee chairman Cllr Michael Woolley said the development would mean a huge increase in the city’s population. “We can’t take a decision on it in the dark,” he declared.

A report said the Highways Agency aspirations to improve the section of A27 relevant to the site had been put on hold indefinitely because of funding restrictions. The planning application proposals included works similar to the agency’s schemes, and went further in seeking to improve safety and capacity on the A27. The agency acknowledged that without ‘developer associated’ modifications such as proposed by Shopwyke Lakes, traffic conditions on the bypass would worsen significantly.