'˜Level crossings must be closed' as part of Chichester Southern Gateway plan

An alternative vision for the Southern Gateway has been put to councillors to address the '˜major flaw' in Chichester District Council's (CDC) masterplan.

An artist's impression of the bridge over the railway line
An artist's impression of the bridge over the railway line

Closing both level crossings and building a single bridge over the railway line near the station is the ‘only way forward’, those behind the Freeflow idea insist.

CDC’s masterplan for regenerating the south eastern access point to the city, out for public consultation until August 10, dismissed either bridging or tunnelling over the line because of high cost, meaning both road crossings will remain.

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“The current CDC options for the Southern Gateway are flawed and missing one vital ingredient,” local architects Richard Hutchinson and Martin Winch told a Chichester City Council meeting last night (Wednesday).

An overview of the plans

“For many of the community, closing both level crossings and building a bridge is the only realistic way forward.

“The council’s vision for the Southern Gateway does not consider this option. Bold, innovative thinking is urgently needed.”

The pair argue that a single new road bridge will mean an end to the regular traffic queues at the existing level crossings in Basin Road and Stockbridge Road.

A single bridge would cost at least £10m, CDC leader Tony Dignum told a meeting this year.

Traffic flow diagram

“Chichester will have a proper Southern Gateway at last.

“It will be expensive, but even if it can’t be afforded now, let’s make sure that it can be built in the future by keeping the potential route open,” Mr Winch said.

He said it would save more than 20,000 working days wasted a year waiting at the crossings.

He says it would also remove through-traffic, making the area more pedestrian friendly.

An overview of the plans

Like CDC’s masterplan, Freeflow also proposes things like a hotel and conference centre as well as retail space and housing.

A petition has been set up at https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/freeflow

The proposal comes amid dissatisfaction towards CDC’s Southern Gateway among some residents living nearby.

Some argue a proposed new road layout would actually increase traffic, when the aim is to make the area greener and less congested.

Traffic flow diagram

Others are angry that green space near the police station and high school would be turned into housing and other development.

To view and comment on CDC’s Southern Gateway masterplan during the consultation click here.

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