Permission for the three-arm roundabout was given in 2020 as part of the New Monks Farm development but there were concerns about the lack of a fourth arm to serve nearby Lancing College.
During a meeting of the planning committee on Monday (July 19), permission for that arm was given – although it will also need approval from the South Downs National Park as the land lies within its boundaries.
The plans, which were submitted jointly by Community Stadium Ltd and Lancing College, will see the new section of road run along the northern side of the A27 to the southern end of Coombes Road.
But it was not welcomed by everyone.
David Johnson vice-chair of CPRE Sussex, said the new road would ‘scar the national park’.
He added: “This is a cruel, wrong-headed, cynical application, both unnecessary and confusing – the wrong hammer to crack the wrong nut.
“Supposedly a solution, it only creates problems where there were none before.
“This is not an application to save journey time to the A27 for college users but an application for a new through-route across the national park.”
The application includes the closure of the existing Coombes Road/A27 junction.
Explaining the need for the fourth arm, Mark Milling, bursar at the independent college, described how plans to make the junction ‘left in/left out’ meant anyone wanting to travel west would have to perform a ‘long complicated diversion around the Shoreham junction’.
Mr Milling said that, as well as adding extra miles to each journey, the implications for the college were far wider.
He told the meeting that if as few as 25 children were moved to other schools because their parents thought getting to the college was too ‘tricky’, the college could become ‘unsustainable in the long term’.
He added: “We would not shoot ourselves in the foot by asking for an access solution that does not work.
“We depend on our day pupils and our staff getting to and from work every day. We cannot have our access torpedoed.
“We are not asking for improvements – we are only asking for the existing all-directions access to be maintained, which serves us, the park and the wider community.
“We did not ask for the new roundabout and we need to protect our school for future generations.”
Mr Milling added that the college had agreed with the national park to turn over a 48-acre field to the north of the new road from arable to species-rich grass land.
The committee accepted that the application wasn’t the perfect solution to the issues at hand but approved it by six votes to two.
It will be considered by a national park committee on August 12.
If it is not approved there, then the applicants would have to launch an appeal.