'˜Last chance' bid to save the A27 Oving traffic lights is launched

A '˜last chance' bid has been launched to save the traffic lights at Oving Crossroads.

The Oving Crossroads junction will be closed unless a new application against it succeeds
The Oving Crossroads junction will be closed unless a new application against it succeeds

Oving Parish Council has been fighting the closure of the junction, which members have labelled ‘madness’, since it was announced in 2013.

Now a fresh planning application has just been submitted to save the route across the A27 to and from Chichester.

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“As a parish council we have to represent our residents, and the thing people say to us time and time again is how isolated they will be if the lights go,” said Sjoerd Schuyleman, Oving council chairman.

Sjoerd Schuyleman and fellow Oving residents have been campaigning against the closure since 2013

“It’s not just Oving residents, it’s people living in Barnham, Yapton, Ford, Aldingbourne, Tangmere, Westergate where their WI has offered its support. Lots of people are up in arms because it’s their preferred route to Chichester and they don’t want to be cut off.”

All hope seemed to have been lost when the then Highways Agency imposed a series of ‘holding directions’ on a previous application last year, forcing the parish council to withdraw it.

But when the Government authority changed to Highways England it lost the power to veto transport applications, so the hope now is it will finally come before Chichester District Council’s (CDC) planning committee.

Mr Schuyleman said: “In March 2015 we had a disastrous meeting where the Highways Agency made a number of unreasonable demands which we couldn’t afford to do, so we had no option but to withdraw.

“We had no idea at that point that Highways would lose its power to veto as consultee. So just by chance I believe we’ve been given the best chance of success that we’ve ever had.

“We want it heard by CDC’s planning committee and we still have support there, I understand around 50 per cent want to keep the lights.”

The new application was submitted on May 23 and is yet to be validated. Mr Schuyleman is hopeful an expensive traffic and transport assessment won’t have to be carried out.

While the junction is set to go, the lights would remain but under the plan only pedestrians and cyclists would be permitted to use them. Mr Schuyleman insists when the stretch of the A27 is eventually upgraded it will actually add to congestion.

Access to Shopwhyke and Oving from the A27 would come through the new Shopwhyke Lakes housing development currently being build.

“We are just as determined as ever to succeed but this is almost our last chance,” Mr Schuyleman added.

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