Friday, 10 August 2018

A27: What’s going on?

Between Chichester and Polegate in East Sussex there are 4 major schemes scheduled to start in the RIS 1 period of 2015-20. All four have had public consultations, they are:
Scheme rejected by the community and subsequently cancelled by Highways England (HE). The community are now holding meetings in the hope their preferred scheme, when decided, will go forward into RIS 2.
Are waiting results of their consultation held in 2017.  In the meantime Leave has been sort by two parties for a Judicial Review due to believed errors in the consultation, environmental and value for money issues.
Are still waiting for results of their consultation held during summer 2017 despite being given a date of early 2018 by HE. Correspondence recently received from HE has given conflicting messages on scheme progress see (iii) below.
Following the public consultation in 2016 an announcement of the preferred route was made summer 2017
Highways England has now said they will carry out surveys and investigations to allow them design the scheme in more detail ahead of a further round of consultation in 2018. However in an effort to convince decision makers that bigger roads are not the answer, a copy of the New Transport Vision for the Sussex Coast, reviewed in the post below, has been presented to Eastbourne MP, Stephen Lloyd.

So time moves on but progress seems to be bogged down with rumours that if schemes are not started before 2020 they will fail the RIS1 deadline. Clearly if it was just the A27 corridor schemes that faced delay it could be put down to pressure of work etc, but scheme delays are reported to be nationwide.
There appears to be several reasons for this, not in any particular order they are.
(i) Public concern that this or that proposed scheme will cause damage to the environment, make pollution worse and create more traffic anyway.
(ii) When Highways England forward matters to government for decisions they are delayed.
(iii) Confusion in HE departments.

An example of (iii) is the large amount of correspondence between a senior HE manager and a trusted correspondent we know.
From the details we have been given, home owners in a slip-road just east of the Manor roundabout in Lancing have been contacted by HE for permission to undertake surveying work in their gardens. This has raised concerns of Compulsory Purchase.
The HE manager in question confirmed permission was requested as they needed to do survey’s along both sides of the A27 Worthing-Lancing corridor for topographical, environmental and air/noise pollution reasons.
The manager went on to say that the department of Transport has not announced whether the scheme tabled last year, or a larger scheme will be planned for this upgrade.
When asked if the New Monks Farm (NMF) (IKEA etc) planning approval indecision would affect the scheme. He replied they had redeveloped the scheme to take in all the issues and objections made this time last year. Also they had taken into account the impacts of the NMF including IKEA (which they failed to do last year).
Surprising then he was unaware that, if NMF was approved, then the developer’s scheme for the Manor Roundabout would be implemented with a contribution of £640,000 from that developer!
When asked what would happen if the result of last years consultation was rejected by government following the local MP’s visit to SofS Chris Grayling. And secondly would an alternative scheme be scheduled for the RIS2 budget period with work to be completed before 2025.
He said no. It would be later than that because RIS 2 is already planned.

However while writing this piece our source has sent details of a letter just received from HE who now states, between reassuring words that compulsory purchase of property would not be necessary, that a decision on the scheme will be announced within the next 2 months.

So apart from the conflicting messages sent out by senior staff and HE HQ we think it’s clear to all those who have an in-depth knowledge of the long history of this section of the A27 and the long list of failed attempts to do anything, that a road based scheme on its own is not the answer.
Until government understand mobility is not achieved by car alone but by an integrated system of foot, bike, bus, train etc and yes the car, can south Sussex move forward.

PS. For those campaigning for a northern Worthing-Lancing bypass, surely with all the extra surveying work taking place that option looks even more unlikely.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Outdated Transport Planning will fail Future Generations

Car obsessed transport planning will not provide a thriving and healthy economy in Sussex according to the report ‘A New Transport Vision for the Sussex Coast’ out today (19 April) [1].
This report, compiled by transport consultancy ITP [2], calls for a more inclusive and integrated approach to transport. It claims that a coordinated rethink could ease congestion in the county and cut car usage by more than 10%.
The findings, published this morning by the South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment (SCATE) [3], challenge existing road plans, such as those for the A27 corridor. The report calls for smarter solutions that work for everyone, in particular for the young, old and disabled, not just people who have access to a car.
Drawing on research by the University of the West of England, the study shows that road building is not the key to economic growth. Evidence shows that increased road capacity simply generates more traffic and creates new hotspots for congestion and poor air quality.

“This is so important for young people” says Chairman of CPRE Sussex, David Johnson.

“They are more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and will have to cope with the impact of climate change.” The report shows a marked decrease in the number of young people holding a driving licence since 1990. “We should be welcoming and building on that trend. Young people deserve proper transport choices to be able to fulfil their potential”.

The wide range of measures proposed include improved facilities for cycling and walking; enhanced rail and road based public transport; and demand management measures to improve the flow of people, rather than cars.

And Becky Reynold from Bricycles, the the Brighton and Hove Cycling Campaign, agrees;

 “More space for cycling and safer cycle routes would provide a far better and healthier transport option [4] than more roads for motor vehicles. When cycling and walking are teamed up with good public transport, there is rarely a need for a car. The focus of planning needs to shift away from road building, especially as we are on the brink of a revolution in the use of new technology and data for transport purposes”

The report looks forward to a transport revolution as technology and data change the way transport is provided and used. 
"We need progressive transport strategies that better meet the future needs of local people and visitors” says Stephen Joseph, CEO of Campaign for Better Transport. “Evidence shows that towns and cities that significantly reduce their car dependency become thriving, attractive places to live, work and visit.”

[1]  The full report can be seen online. (3.4Mb file)  There are a series of local launches being planned for at later dates:
·        Saturday, 21 April, doors open at 10am for 10:30am- 12:30pm local launch at Lewes Town Hall.  Book a place on Eventbrite.
·        Friday, 4 May, 2 – 3:30pm, Bassil Shippam Centre, Tozer Way, Chichester, PO19 7LG.  Book a place on Eventbrite
·        Thursday, 17 May, 7.30pm, local launch at Arundel Town Hall.
[2]  Integrated Transport Planning (ITP) teamed up with the University of the West of England to produce the report for SCATE.
[3]  South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment (SCATE) is a network of over 30 local organisations and businesses.

[4]  “The best way to take pressure off the NHS is to give everyone active, healthy transport choices”, says Sustrans. “If this country hits its targets to increase walking and cycling, more than 12,000 premature deaths from air pollution would be prevented. If we reach Danish levels of cycling, it would save the NHS £17billion within 20 years.”

Sunday, 25 February 2018

So What Do You Think?

With the result of the consultation held by Highways England last summer into various congestion busting schemes for sections of the A27 expected at any time, the letters page of the local press has sprung to life with numerous bizarre suggestions’ on how to solve traffic chaos.
Our present favourite is the plan by a reader of the Worthing Herald for ‘Having a flyover right through Worthing’. See:
The plan it seems is to build a new section of A27 above the existing road, a sort of double deck road starting at Offington roundabout and returning to earth east of Lyons Farm. A distance of some 1.8 miles.
The advantage of such a scheme the author suggests would ‘allow the through traffic to travel at up to 60mph’. It is also suggested ‘Faster moving traffic causes less air pollution’.
Unfortunately the author omits any design features such as how many lanes the upper deck would have or how emergency vehicles would gain access in the event of a collision. There is however a suggestion that such a scheme ‘avoids encroaching on anyone’s land’ giving the impression there’s no emergency exit for 1.8 miles.
So what do you think reader’s. Ok then I’ll start things off. How would you like 60mph traffic whizzing pass your property at about bedroom height? But I’m sure the Editor at would prefer to hear from you rather than us.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

The Not So Small Print

For those following the Facebook group ‘Future of the A27’ you will have seen the comments regarding the Options that were out for consultation on Arundel and the recommendation for approval of 5A by the various councils involved. But I wonder just how closely people have studied the data Highways England (HE) and their consultants’ have produced.
For instance, the glee by some that 5A will solve Arundel’s grief is not borne out by the traffic data. Yes there will be a temporary reduction in traffic along the route that presently goes through part of Arundel town. However those who took the trouble to look at the consultation brochure would have seen on page 24 the traffic flow by 2041 is expected to be 38,200, and that is only 800 vehicles short of the 5A by-pass design capacity. See:
Deeper study of traffic data confirms traffic flow at present on the A27 between Fontwell and the Arundel A284 roundabout is already over 27000 and if capacity improvement schemes at Chichester and Worthing were now in place the figure of 35000 would be most likely.
The report presented by WSCC Officers to the Environmental and Community Services Select Committee in September was concerned that the piecemeal approach of designing each of the A27 scheme in isolation to each other, might not pick up the pent-up traffic demand. This clearly is illustrated by traffic diverting to other West/East routes to avoid Arundel etc such as the A259, A29, A283 etc. But more importantly, although unsubstantiated until HE releases the figures, 18% of traffic re-routing on to the A3M.
Whatever the ins and outs of the Arundel controversy one thing is clear, traffic is going to increase unless we get smarter on mobility. For sure if we don’t Arundel will be gridlocked even with a dual three lane Superhighway through the protected Sussex countryside.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Battle Stations

The fight is on to save the area around Binsted village from a new section of multi lane dual carriageway.
Both West Sussex County Council and Arun District Council have agreed in meetings over the past week to say in response to the Highways England consultation on A27 major works that 5A is their preferred option.
As expected that decision has been met with dismay and some anger with Mike Tristram representing the Binstead community commenting:
“Four of the five community groups gave WSCC good traffic, environmental and community reasons why the officers’ recommendation to support Option 5A should be rejected.  Appalling damage to Binsted Woods, Binsted Park, the village communities using the National Park in this area, and Tortington, were all cited”. 

Dr A Whitbread. Chief Executive of the Sussex Wildlife Trust on hearing the news said:

‘If it goes ahead this road will draw in more traffic from elsewhere, will generate extra car journeys, increase car dependency - more traffic, more traffic jams.  To say nothing of the ongoing destruction of irreplaceable habitat, the loss of landscape and ecological connectivity and decimation of populations of internationally protected species’.

So what can be done to alert the public to what is likely to happen to this wonderful iconic area of English countryside? Well the locals are not going to stand by and let the bulldozers gouge out cuttings or build massive embankments through our cultural heritage – future generations would never forgive us if we allowed it – therefore:
On Sunday 8th October, come participate in the big Save Binsted Demonstration, and help highlight the event by joining our one hour walk to Binsted from Arundel. Let Highways England know that we don’t want our precious landscape destroyed by a big bypass!

The demonstration begins at 1:00pm at the Flint Barn, Binsted BN18 0LL. Full details below. Bring a green “A27 Better not Bigger” poster to show your support for Binsted and the Arundel countryside.

The one hour walk from Arundel will go through the South Downs National Park, past areas threatened by Arundel bypass Options 3 and 5A, arriving in Binsted in time for the Save Binsted Demonstration. Dogs on leads and children able to walk for an hour are welcome. Meet at the junction of Dalloway Road – Torton Hill Road, Arundel at 11.30 am.

We expect this to get a lot of press coverage, so even if you can’t join us on the walk, please come to Binsted and participate!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Binsted Gets Ugly.

News that the Arundel bypass plans might involve road building through ancient woodland and quintessential English villages has come to the attention of European Anarchists.
Under the heading ‘Acorn Info’ France based e-magazine The Acorn picks up on the 2003 occupation of Binsted Wood by environmental protectors who setup camp there, and was reportedly partly responsible for the then bypass scheme being cancelled.
Well folks the word anyway is there’s a good chance that the scheme for Worthing will be thrown out, and if any scheme at Arundel or Chichester is successful, all that extra traffic coming off the M27 will have nowhere to go. So what’s going to happen? Oh yes rat-running through every nook and cranny.
However let’s look on the bright side of things.
Both WSCC and WBC in their draft response to the Highways England ‘Option’ for Worthing have highlighted the need for a ‘Holistic’ approach to the problems of the A27 and not just work up a plan for each section on its own. The idea is to look at the full length of the Chichester – Shoreham corridor then decide what is best. (Now when did we first say that – 1987?).
Mind you after hearing (5 September) at a meeting organised by a residents’ association that both local MP’s have gone to Government for more money to build flyovers instead of traffic signals at junctions, anything could happen.
As usual though we stick to our guns and repeat the best thing for everyone to do is throw out all A27 options.  Perhaps then transport planners’ and MP’s will wake up to the fact that roads on their own will never solve congestion – only waste hard earned taxpayer pounds.
Worth reading:

Sunday, 27 August 2017

And Now Its’ Arundel’s Turn.

We fail to understand how anyone could support any of the Arundel A27 options Highways England (HE) has put forward, when clearly their purpose is to create even more road space for through traffic to fill (1).
The Arundel Bypass Neighbourhood Committee (2) has eloquently put forward the clear case for rejecting option 5A. Hopefully we can get you to reject the remainder.
Like option 5A, 3 is also a dual 2 lane carriageway designed to 100kph traffic specification. It also requires two new over-bridges at the River Arun and Arun Valley Railway. These alien structures crossing the Arun Valley will not only be a blot on a cherished landscape, they will scar the priceless setting of historic Arundel.
Option 3 then deviates from 5A to bulldoze a 250 metre wide gouge through irreplaceable ancient woodland at Tortington Common. This option then requires four new under-bridges (Bridges in an ancient wood!) at Old Scotland Lane, Binsted Lane, Tortington Lane and Ford Road to complete the destruction of this tranquil corner of English countryside, before rejoining the A27 near Havenwood Park.
Option 1 and the last option given by HE, is also a new offline two lane dual carriageway from the Crossbush Junction. In this case it will join the existing Arundel Bypass east of the Ford road roundabout. It too requires new over-bridges at the railway and River Arun, again clearly both alien structures.
From the Ford Road Roundabout the single 2 lane A27 Hospital Hill will be dualled and join the existing dualled road west of The White Swan.
Just like Chichester and Worthing – Lancing the Arundel scheme is about one thing and that of course is through traffic. By spending vast sums on these grandiose schemes no money is left to repair existing roads, spent on public transport or cycling.
If we really want to move people and goods around more reliably and efficiently, those who can use other modes than the car must be encouraged to do so by providing an alternative and thus freeing up road space.
Please reject all the options as we did for Chichester and Worthing – Lancing.