People say, “If we have to have thousands more houses in Sussex, then we have to have a fully dualled 70mph A27”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fontwell shows why.
To accommodate just 400 extra houses at Fontwell (planning application WA/22/15), Highways England have formally recommended to Arun District Council on 15/10/2015 that a condition should be placed on this development, requiring four sets of traffic lights to be added to the A29/A27 (Little Chef) Fontwell Roundabout. That is, two sets on the roundabout itself, and two sets on the A27 just either side of it, one in each direction. Click here to see the drawing showing all these new Fontwell roundabout traffic lights.
There is a demand from a small proportion of Sussex traffic for a long distance high speed route, with all roundabouts and traffic lights removed, and junctions as large and as few as possible. Local traffic would have to go further and queue longer to get on, off or across an A27 expressway, which by definition prioritises long distance traffic over local traffic.
We need to make improvements, both to the A27 and to the behaviour patterns of traffic using it, which will ease the flow at peak times. But to accommodate existing local traffic and more houses, we need substantial sections of the Sussex A27 to operate at 50mph rather than 70mph, with traffic lights and roundabouts where necessary to manage the flow on and off the A27. Highways England’s recommendation at Fontwell shows they know this very well.
If, instead, a fully dualled 70mph A27 expressway is imposed on Sussex in order to prioritise long distance traffic, then we will not be able to service the local access needs of the existing residents and businesses of Sussex, let alone these thousands of extra houses.
POST BLOG UPDATE The Dandara development was approved by Arun, but then called in, we understand at MP Nick Herbert's request, for final determination by the Secretary of State. This will be an interesting one to follow. The SoS has in effect to decide between the A27(M)Expressway and the Housebuilding Crusade.