What is the point in having a local planning committee when their decisions can be over-ruled and overturned by one man, sitting in his Ivory Tower in Whitehall, with probably no personal knowledge of the area involved.
I doubt that Mr Grayling, Secretary of State for transport, has ever visited Chichester, let alone Oving Road.
If he wanted “Robust Evidence” I would suggest he should bring a deck chair and sit at the Oving Road A27 junction for a few hours counting the many thousands of vehicles crossing the junction and watching the traffic flows, then he would soon realise the importance of that crossing.
This is not simply a NIMBY concern, the junction is used by thousands of local people and others from villages and towns to the north, east and the west of Chichester in order to avoid the death trap roundabouts at Bognor Road and Portfield.
The proposed closure has nothing to do with ‘The Lights’, it is the junction they want to close.
The Minister appears to have taken more notice of Highways England (not WSCC) who proposed the closure and the house builders (Cala) who are now moving into the area of the Shopwyke lakes and have decided that they want a new junction onto the A27 from that estate.
According to Highways England, that would mean too many junctions in a short length of road and therefore the existing, heavily used one will have to go to make way for the convenience of the new houses. Since when did building firms have the right to dictate where road junctions should be placed.
In my opinion it is up to them to fit in with the existing structure. What is wrong with traffic from the new estate exiting via Shopwyke Road? Of course Cala would not support the Oving Parish Council application because it is not what they want.
And why has our MP, Andrew Tyrie, not supported the retention of the crossing. He has had several letters from the parish council but to date has not even acknowledged them, let alone replied.
I predict that the decision of the Minister, Chris Grayling MP, is going to result in a large increase in the number of accidents, some of which will be fatal, at the Bognor Bridge and Portfield roundabouts. But, of course, he won’t take responsibility for them.
As for Cala, on a related topic, they have ripped out the old hedgerow alongside Shopwyke Road and are now in the process of replacing it with a secure wooden palisade fence to replace the steel fences previously used for security.
That wooden fence will have required the destruction of goodness knows how many mature trees to supply the timber and when no longer required it will be burnt. And this is happening day after day all over the country. It is such a waste of natural resources.
What is wrong with leaving a re-usable wire fence in position for the duration of the building programme.