MAJOR companies will never want to come to Bognor Regis because of an improved A29, it has been claimed.
Hugh Coster, the deputy chairman of the town’s civic society, said claims that upgrading the road with funding from the developers of 2,000 planned homes would benefit the area were unproven.
“From the plans I’ve seen, we are going to end up with six or seven roundabouts all the way along the new A29. Each of them will cause delay and congestion,” he said.
“In any case, after all those roundabouts drivers are going to end up at the Fontwell roundabout on the A27. We all know what that’s like when you approach it from the south.
“Effectively, the A29 is going to be of no use to Bognor. We will never get big industrial companies coming to the town. Big industry will want to be located nearer to the A27.
“Anyone thinking they want to come here is barking up the wrong tree. I will eat my hat if they do.
“There’s a vague promise of a major car manufacturer coming here but that’s just local government by rumour.”
Mr Coster said Bognor would be better served by a new A27 Arundel bypass as well as a possible link road from any new housing at Ford.
Building hundreds of homes at Ford, wanted by its parish council, would ease the pressure on Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate and avoid the risk of increasing flooding around Bognor.
Mr Coster told last Friday’s meeting the proposed investment in the A29 was only being used to justify enabling 2,000 homes to be built around Barnham in Arun District Council’s draft local plan.
A survey produced by campaigners clearly showed such a large-scale development would worsen the likelihood of flooding along the coast.
“Water from them is going to coming here because we are downstream from that area, which is partly marshland, and will flow into the rifes,
“The local plan says virtually nothing is known about the effects of groundwater and surface water but the hydrogeologist’s report suggests exactly what we have been saying,” said Mr Coster.
A vote backing the civic society’s stance of a ban on building in the area until the flooding problems are solved to the satisfaction of insurers was given by some 25 members. Small developments for first-time buyers and social housing could take place away from flood risk sites.
Laurie Barnes, the society’s chairman, said the Bognor area sat on a thin layer of soil on top of clay.
“The water can’t get away quickly and the roads flood and the fields flood,” he said. “We all know what it’s like.”