LETTER: Road barriers

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EVERY time I read in your pages of some imaginative scheme such as fracking, quarrying, housing development, new schools etc in this area, I am reminded of one drawback in each case: infrastructure.

Here, north of the Downs in Midhurst and Petworth, we are served by just two roads running north/south.

Those two towns are both bottlenecks for the traffic that such schemes would bring and they are also crossroads for the east/west A272.

The roads are not suitable for heavy goods vehicles of any type.

Even the heavy goods route around Petworth reverts to a single-track road in places.

I was reminded of this lack of infrastructure when the A286 was closed at Henley and traffic was diverted via country lanes.

I was confronted by a truck on the mainly single-track stretch of road between Fernhurst and Lickfold. Neither of us should have been there, but such is our infrastructure that there is virtually no alternative.

In an area within the Surrey border to the north, the A3 to the west, the A27 to the south and A24 to the east, there are precisely four sections of dual carriageway: three of 100 yards in length on the A272 and up Bury Hill heading south.

Consequently, it can be almost impossible to overtake the rather slow tractors and sometimes slower horseboxes.

More heavy vehicles would make it more difficult. Add in inconsiderate parking and you frequently have single-track A-roads where the traffic is slowed even more.

And, for the moment, I’m only talking about traffic. Schools, commuting – even water and basic utilities (don’t get me on broadband) – are all insufficient currently, let alone able to cope with any increased load.

My message to councillors is simple: we don’t have the infrastructure for these schemes and probably never will until we have bypassed the towns.

Add in national park status and you might as well forget such schemes and not waste your time. It’s all quite simple to me, it should be as simple to our councillors.

Paul Craigside

Ball’s Cross

Petworth