With all the hoo-hah now associated with the Northern Bypass proposal, there are now a considerable number of traffic proposals for the committee to deal with. (Do read the full series of posts by typing traffic into the search box above then click on the magnifying glass).
Know that the WHF outline plan has still not been approved and the developers are continually submitting revisions to their plans in anticipation of getting CDC approval for their outline application. You can consult the latest state of the developer’s plan (no. 14/04301/OUT) on the Chichester District Council website and start getting your thoughts together, before it finally goes to the CDC planning committee, who knows when. March maybe?
The view from the Committee
Westgate residents are lucky to have an active Traffic Action Group who are monitoring the highway and traffic suggestions being made by the developer as they arrive.
Vectos, transport planning consultants to Linden Homes, the developers of Whitehouse Farm, published traffic proposals in a document (N37/110013) dated 19 October 2015. The WGRA Traffic Action Group has reviewed these proposals for discussion and eventual decision.
A series of special meetings was called recently to begin to construct properly considered responses which could form the official response from the Westgate Residents’ Association to the powers that be . These meetings were held on 3rd and 18th of February with a further and final consideration planned for the 16th March.
Five sticking points
For Westgate residents there seem to be five sticking points to these Whitehouse Farm proposals. Starting at the West end of the street and moving East, these are:
- The Southern Access Route: Current proposals by Vectos are to route the new southern access to/from Whitehouse Farm past Bishop Luffa School and onto the Sherborne Rd/Westgate junction. This risks being impractical given the sheer volume of future estimated traffic (up to a 250% rise at this junction on some estimates). Developers, highway and planning authorities really should set about designing a more fundamental alternative that would route the southern access directly onto the Cathedral Way roundabout, thereby minimising any link with Westgate.
- The Sherborne Rd/Westgate junction: Current proposals by Vectos to revise the Sherborne Rd/Westgate junction continue to make it unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists (especially pupils to/from Bishop Luffa School). This inadequate roundabout could be replaced with a proper signalled junction to minimise the risks to these users, in tandem with a reassessment of the Whitehouse Farm southern access routes outlined above of course.
- Westgate traffic calming measures: Current proposals by Vectos to update the traffic calming installations along Westgate really are rather weak. Surely they need to be improved so that traffic speeds are genuinely reduced to 20mph and sufficient obstructions placed in the motorists’ way to discourage through trips song Westgate from the city to the A27 and vice versa.
- The Westgate cycle path: The local plan does show a defined cycle path all along Westgate. The beginning/ending at Mount Lane is acceptable but thereafter the route does not yet seem to have been resolved. Under WSCC rules, the WHF development has to be “sustainable”, which means including proper, safe provision for pedestrians, cycles and buses as an alternative means of transport to the car. A completed cycle route along Westgate should result.
- The Westgate/A286 roundabout: Current proposals by Vectos to route cyclists around the perimeter of this roundabout require a fundamental rethink. There is no safe crossing to or from West St for cyclists in their proposals; and in spite of the new Pelican crossing, pedestrians remain effectively cut off from the city by the Avenue de Chartres (as indeed they do from The Hornet and North Street).
The committee hopes to report some recommended solutions to these problems following the meeting on the 16th March.
Many thanks to the resident and committee specialists from the Westgate Residents’ Traffic Action Group for their contributions to this post.