A27 Chichester By-Pass News
Residents can vote for an A27 bypass alternative
Highways England is giving local residents the opportunity to let them know if they believe that none of the proposed A27 options will benefit them by ticking the option box labelled ‘NO OPTION’ in its questionnaire. Residents are also being invited to make alternative suggestions for traffic improvement in a separate box. These alternatives can include other bypass options, including those previously considered, whose details can be found on Highways England’s website. As through traffic represents 42% of all traffic currently using the A27, separating local and through traffic is the only sustainable option.
Highways England’s figures show that none of the proposals currently under consultation will make significant savings on local journey times and several of them will actually increase some local journeys times. Meanwhile, four of the five options will restrict local traffic movements by not allowing traffic to turn right on or off the A27 at the Stockbridge and Whyke junctions, the two most regularly used by Manhood Peninsula traffic. This will result in local traffic making longer journeys along the A27, rat-running through Chichester, travelling through the interior of the Manhood Peninsula, or the villages of North Mundham and Runcton. When the A286 to the Witterings or the B2145 to Selsey are congested or blocked, residents’ ability to use alternative routes will be severely reduced. Option 2, which proposes a link road from the Fishbourne Roundabout across the A286, the B2201, the Canal and joining the B2145/B2166 roundabout while removing the Stockbridge and Whyke road roundabouts, will mean Selsey traffic will also become blocked by West Wittering beach traffic.
ChichesterDeservesBetter, the campaign group opposing the Northern Bypass, has already stated that all the options except Option 2 are just sticking plasters that will not improve traffic in the longer term. Best4Chichester believes that all the options are detrimental for local residents and argues that Option 2 is simply a more expensive sticking plaster that will, according to Highways England, require upgrading just 13 years after its completion. Information on the Highways England website shows that Option 2 is only 10% cheaper than Option 5, one of the Northern Bypass options. Indeed, the anticipated upgrading of Option 2 to four-lanes in 2035 will make Option 2 more expensive than Option 5. Meanwhile, Option 5, which was supposedly dropped for cost reasons, would bring significantly more economic benefits, much faster travel times for both through and local traffic and cause no disruption or harm to the Chichester Harbour AONB, our vital visitor economy and more than 50,000 local people’s lives.
Comparisons between Option 2 (Fishbourne to HunstonLink Road) and Option 5(Northern Bypass).
Option 2 will cost £280.2 million, require the removal of 20 homes, will involve the creation of a raised road (due to flood risk) across open fields on one of the last remaining undeveloped coastal plains in the south east. The Option 2 link road will be completed in 2022 but will have reached capacity by 2035 when it will require upgrading to four lanes. The construction delay costs (or costs incurred by business and residents due to disruption during construction) are estimated to be £25 million for Option 2, more than 30 times higher than the £0.8 million costs for Option 5. Another major fact to be considered is the impact of traffic disruption on the Manhood Peninsula’s important tourism economy, which represents over half the entire Chichester District tourism economy. The Fishbourne flyover and link road will have ‘signficant adverse effects’ on the Fishbourne and Chichester Conservation Areas and the Chichester Harbour AONB and the Manhood peninsula’s natural habitat and landscape. The degradation to the environment, loss of important views of the Cathedral and Downs from the peninsula and the impairment to recreational cycling and walking across the Manhood will also impact the local visitor economy. In addition, Option 2 results in worsening noise levels, while Option 5 shows an overall noise improvement.
Option 5 will cost £307.80 million (10% more than Option 2), require the removal of 8 homes (60% less than Option 2), and will involve the construction of a partially new road circumventing the northern edge of Chichester, to the south of Lavant. Much of the bypass will be on existing roads, all of it will be outside of the South Downs National Park and it will not intrude into open countryside as much as Option 2. Meanwhile, Option 5 shows significantly ‘higher journey time improvements across all routes’ than Option 2. Option 5 will also create better access to Goodwood and improve accessibility to other tourism locations in the area, including the coast. The predicted reduction in accident costs for Option 5 is £73.6 million, compared to just £8.4 million for Option 2, while air improvement is also better for Option 5 than for Option 2.
The Chichester Observer is running a poll where local residents can vote for their favourite option currently under consultation. Readers can also vote for NONE OF THEM. Choosing to reject all the options currently out for consultation does NOT mean no bypass or improvements in the future but will make Highways understand locals’ concerns and work harder to address them. Remember we have a government that claims to want to listen to the people who feel they are being ignored.
Note: all figures taken directly from Highways England published reports