No to new housing in Woodgate

Traffic congestion has led a planning inspector to reject a proposal to build up to a hundred homes in Woodgate.

Councillors were told on Wednesday (July 25) their decision to reject the outline plan for the Woodgate Centre was backed by the inspector, Brian Sims.

Mr Sims said the need for housing in the area was not enough to overcome the shortcomings of the site on Woodgate Road.

The location was outside the built-up area identified by Arun District Council – whose development control committee received his report – and would add to the already unsatisfactory traffic conditions around the Woodgate level crossing.

“The level crossing barriers are lowered for a total of 30 to 40 per cent of the day,” he said.

“Closures last between two and six minutes a time and, in between, the barriers are raised for an average of about three minutes, though sometimes for less than two.

“The result is regular queuing by northbound traffic for distances of 200-300m during times of peak traffic flow, well back past the Woodgate Road junction.

“Simple observation indicates that the present traffic conditions are difficult and frustrating.

“It is noteworthy that certain unwise overtaking movements were observed during the peak hour site inspection, apparently due to frustration at the level 
crossing queue.”

Work proposed by the developer, Builtform Developments, to improve Woodgate Road’s junction with the A29 would be too little to overcome the poor quality of road and the impact of the extra traffic caused by the housing.

It is expected to generate some 595 vehicle movements a day. About 90 were likely to be peak time.

Mr Sims said the proposed housing would effectively double the size of the developed area of Woodgate and form an urban extension into the countryside.

“Even allowing for the existing and potential development adjacent to the site, the scale and intensity of this amount of new building would substantially alter the character of both the landscape and the adjacent settlement,” he ruled.