‘Rail firms must aid the Woodgate flow’

County councillor Derek Whittington has said rail bodies should help to improve traffic flow over the Woodgate crossing.

Cllr Whittington said the waiting times at the pinchpoint on the A29 had long been acknowledged as causing considerable delays to traffic between Bognor Regis and the A27.

But the idea of a bridge over the bypass put forward by Arun District Council was not the sole answer.

“The solution does not lie only with the building of a new overbridge at whatever location but also with Network Rail,” he said.

“The length of the signal blocks on the Coastway line is such that, were they to be shortened and appropriate resignalling undertaken, overall gate times could be substantially shortened to the point highway delays would be decreased to a more acceptable level at Woodgate as well as other locations.

“This would require investment on the part of Network Rail and the support and co-operation of the train operator, Southern Railway, and has been the subject of detailed studies by those organisations.

“It is the railway which causes the delay.

“So, perhaps the railway should assist with a solution in the first instance by modernising its own facilities.

“A solution needs to be sustainable in all senses, not benefit merely those in motor vehicles.

“The residents of the Six Villages would prefer to live and continue to live, as Arun District Council used to have it, in ‘Our Kind of Place’.”

Cllr Whittington (Con, Fontwell) said any bypass should be started from south of the Lidsey bends to remove the accident blackspot and join the current A29 line to the south of Sack Lane.

He has produced a critique of Arun’s ideas for the bypass.

One solution would be to route heavy traffic through existing congested residential areas along the A29 – via the lion memorial to Fontwell and the A27.

Another will, he says, go from the Lidsey roundabout to Church Lane, in Eastergate, to pass some 50m from the village’s school and go through the village’s conservation area to the war memorial.