Here’s why a new Walberton development wants permission to change its access arrangements

More than 200 people have objected to plans for an alternative access road which would serve 175 dwellings (WA/95/18/RE).

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 1:27 pm
The current access off Yapton Lane into the Avisford Grange development in Walberton (Photo from Google Maps Street View)

Plans for alternative access to the Avisford Grange development, which would be off of Tye Lane, as well as emergency access from Avisford Park Road, will be discussed by Arun District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday (October 27).

Vistry Homes Ltd is seeking permission to construct access in alternative locations but previously gained approval for Yapton Lane access and emergency access on Tye Lane.

Trees and hedgerows have already been cleared to accommodate the approved emergency access on Tye Lane.

The proposed alternative emergency access at Avisford Park Road has been described as a ‘building site’ at the current time.

Avisford Grange is currently accessed from Yapton Lane but show homes and the visitor reception are not yet open to the public.

Avisford Park Golf Course, to the north, was previously used for access by construction traffic but this has now been closed off.

The plans have been submitted in anticipation of the proposed Arundel Bypass, which includes a junction at Tye Lane.

In a planning statement, Vistry Homes Ltd. said this left it in a position ‘where the approved main point of access is under serious threat of being lost’.

As a result of this, the developer said ‘all activity on site’ had stopped between October 2020 and June 2021, adding: ‘this situation cannot continue’.

The developer said the plans for alternative access had been ‘significantly amended’ since similar plans were withdrawn in June this year (WA/93/20/PL).

Highways authority West Sussex County Council did not object to the new plan but noted that it had been submitted in response to Highways England’s preferred Arundel Bypass route which currently ‘has no formal planning status’.

The highways authority estimated that the number of trips associated with the plans ‘would not result in a capacity or safety impact’.

It noted that the Tye Lane access may not be automatically implemented, with permission lasting for five years.

By which time, it is hoped there will be certainty surrounding the preferred grey route for the Arundel Bypass which could negate the need for Tye Lane to be used as the main access point.

Walberton Parish Council called the application ‘premature’ and objected to the revised access routes.

It said there had been ‘no community engagement’ by the developer, adding that the proposed A27 route may not block the Yapton Lane access after all.

The parish council maintains that Avisford Park Road is narrow and unsurfaced and is therefore unsuitable for emergency access.

It also expressed concern over traffic levels on The Street and local roads which it claims would increase ‘dramatically’.

More than 220 letters of objection were received which cited the application being a ‘rehash’ of a previously withdrawn one (WA/93/20/PL); Tye Lane being unsuitable and potentially posing a danger for residents, walkers, cyclists and horse riders if used as the main access; and the developer ‘not considering’ the full impact of traffic on local roads.

One objection reads: “Regardless of traffic surveys, conducted during a pandemic when traffic movements cannot be representative, this change will certainly materially add to existing road congestion through Walberton village.”

Council officers said that several key issues may be considered by the planning committee.

This includes whether the application is ‘premature’, considering National Highways’ commitment to ensure access to Avisford Grange during and after Arundel Bypass construction.

Other considerations could include the potential impact on the nearby conservation area and whether plans could lead to flooding.

Officers said that increased traffic could be considered to lead to a ‘negative impact’ on the conservation area but recommended that the revised access is approved with conditions.

More details can be found at the Arun planning portal using reference: WA/63/21/PL.