I attended a meeting about the A27 road ‘improvements’ in Donnington today. The mood in the room seemed to be ‘Chuck it in the north’.
But with Chichester Deserves Better seemingly saying ‘Chuck it in the south’, we are fast heading for an impasse – not to mention a souring of community relations.
Is there a way out? When the people of Balcombe were faced with fracking on their doorstep, they opposed it vehemently... and then formed an energy co-operative to supply all their energy needs from renewable power. Out of something negative came something positive.
Similarly, the people of Chichester are now faced with the blight of road building all around. And rather than just grumbling at each other, we need to work out how we can all travel differently. How do we move people, not how do we move cars. We must invest in better public transport, park and ride, and safe cycle and pedestrian routes. We can change the way we travel. And indeed reduce the need to travel at all. As things stand, however, green routes for locals haven’t troubled any of the Highways England options. We’re told they will be tagged on as an afterthought – if we are lucky.
So, even if you want ‘something doing’ to the roads, please don’t forget to put the needs of pedestrians and cyclists and those who can’t drive on your response to Highways England. (You might end up one day without access to a car too).
Let’s turn this around. The powers that be keep saying Chichester is a ‘special city’. Let’s keep it so by not ruining it. Anywhere. North or south. Let’s reject the flyovers and roads that will fill to capacity within a few years. Let’s knock on the head the restrictive and ridiculous ‘no right-hand turns’. Let’s come together and work out new, long-lasting transport solutions through grassroots change.