Woodgate homes would bring A29 ‘to a standstill’

Residents have told a planning inspector their roads could not cope with the traffic from an extra hundred homes in Woodgate.

Shani Whitmarsh and Carol Bartlett said the additional number of vehicles from the proposed development at The Woodgate Centre would bring the already crowded A29 to a permanent standstill.

Ms Whitmarsh told Brian Sims at the planning inquiry he is leading into the housing proposal she had spent four hours and 52 minutes last week in queues in her car just yards from her home in Woodgate Road.

The delays caused by the Woodgate railway crossing, and the sheer number of cars, using the main road led to the hold-ups every day.

“It can take you up to 15 minutes to get across the crossing if you are at the back of the queue,” she said at Tuesday’s first day of the expected four day hearing.

“I’ve lived in Woodgate for 38 years and the number of people who walk and cycle has declined ten-fold.

“The road is dangerous. The reason there are no cycling accidents is largely down to the fact most people will not cycle or walk.

“You would be a fool to go along that road. It’s really dangerous and really scary.”

Fellow villager Carol Bartlett said: “I find it very worrying there could be another 200-plus vehicles using Woodgate Road to access the A29. We already have terrible trouble getting in and out of our road.”

The inquiry began on Tuesday at Bognor Regis Town Hall and is expected to last until tomorrow.

It is being held after Builtform Developments appealed against Arun District Council’s rejection of its outline planning application to build up to 100 homes on land at The Woodgate Centre. They would be reached through Woodgate Road and Oak Tree Close. The firm also wants to create landscaped open space within the proposed estate and a publicly-accessible woodland.

Arun rejected the scheme for five reasons: four relate to transport matters, such as poor pedestrian links and a lack of public transport.

Builtform’s barrister Graeme Keen told the inquiry evidence from the company’s transport and planning experts showed those reasons for refusal were invalid. “The proposed development would result in a high quality residential scheme and the effective and efficient development of the southern part of the complex,” he said.

“The indicative layout shows one way in which the site could be developed to successfully accommodate a mix of two, three and four bedroom detached, semi-detached and terraced houses, together with internal access routes, landscaping and open spaces.

“The layout demonstrates the development would relate well to neighbouring occupiers and would cause no material adverse impact.”