CURRENT STATUS (January 2016)
- Oving Parish Council (OPC) has been aware of the proposed improvements to the A27 Chichester Bypass for some years. Previous studies and reports have been studied with interest. The Government has agreed in principal that funding of £60 to £90 million will be made available to make these improvements.
- Highways England (HE) engaged consultants Mott MacDonald to come up with proposal. OPC is aware that they have recently started consulting stakeholders who have then been sworn to secrecy. OPC has not yet been consulted.
- In January 2016 the Observer newspapers and Spirit FM leaked details of the seven options for improvements for the A27 being considered by Mott MacDonald. Small maps of all 7 options with “thumbnails” for each junction can be viewed on either the Chichester Observer or Spirit FM websites. HE has advised that these are only drafts that may change before they go for public consultation in March 2016.
- Options 1, 2, 2a and 3 are for the various improvements to the existing A27 Chichester Bypass that curves south of the city from the Portfield roundabout to the Fishbourne roundabout. Options 4 and 5 show two possible routes for a new northern bypass. Option 6 is for a new stretch of road that avoids the Portfield and Bognor Road roundabouts before re-joining the existing bypass before the Whyke roundabout. There are then improvements to the remaining junctions to the Fishbourne roundabout.
- Option 6 is the one that concerns Oving Parish the most. It arcs south from a new junction with the A285 Petworth road in the corner of the parish of Tangmere. It then has flyovers over Tangmere Road, Drayton Lane and the Railway line before descending to a new roundabout on the A259 Bognor Road just before the existing Bognor Road roundabout. The access link back onto the existing A27 Chichester Bypass goes through a small corner of the parish of Runcton. It looks like there may be raised dual carriageways above mainly agricultural land through the northern part of Oving Parish. This will be visually intrusive for much of its route. It will also be noisy and will pollute the air for many of our residents. It is likely to be the most expensive option but will need to be fought against for our residents.
- The cheapest options are either of the new northern bypasses; it is always easier, cheaper and faster to build a new road than it is to modify all the junctions on the existing A27 Chichester Bypass. The construction work at these junctions would cause even further disruption than currently but would not solve the problem.
- The A27 Chichester Bypass is now used by about 60% local traffic – although figures as high as 80% has been claimed. The remaining 40% (or 20% depending on your preference) is through traffic. With the inevitable increase in new housing developments included in the adopted Chichester Local Plan, the number of local users will only increase. If Chichester is to survive, most of these will have to use or cross the bypass to get into the city.
- If our LOLA campaign fails to prevent the closure of the Oving Traffic Lights (see other report on this website) then residents from a large catchment area south of the bypass will be adversely affected. This will include those who currently work in Chichester, go to St Richards Hospital, medical and dental practices or shopping etc. Many of our residents are already choosing to go to Bognor Regis to shop as it is less congested and parking is easier and cheaper or to Barnham to catch a train.
- The OPC has not yet fully discussed the A27 options, but has agreed to form a Working Group to evaluate them and liaise with those in surrounding parishes who are concerned about the numerous traffic issues south of the city. This will be done mainly in the first consultation period starting in March 2016. Anyone who is interested and concerned would be welcome to volunteer to help this Working Group. Please contact the undersigned.
- Our initial thoughts are that, for some of the reasons outlined above, it may be necessary to support one of the new northern bypass options to take the majority of the through traffic. In addition, it is likely that one of the improvement options will become essential to the existing Chichester Bypass to handle the increased traffic. Eventually, ownership and responsibility for the existing bypass will presumably pass to West Sussex Highways.
For more information or to volunteer please contact: