Road congestion fears but Bognor jobs plan on hold

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PLANS to create hundreds of jobs for Bognor Regis have been put on hold because of concerns of a roads logjam.

The £22m-25m scheme is estimated to lead to 425-565 full and part time jobs at the site on Oldlands Farm off the A29 Shripney Road.

But Highways England has twice asked Arun District Council to defer a decision until it is sure the major road network can cope with the extra traffic generated by the development.

David Bowie, an officer at the government department, told Arun planning officer Neil Crowther in his last email: “I would therefore be grateful if your council could continue to refrain from determining this application until such time as we can ascertain whether or not there are implications to our network.”

His earlier request to the council stated: “Highways England will be concerned with proposals that have the potential to impact on the safe and efficient operation of the strategic road network in this case, particularly the Bognor Road roundabout with the A259 and the Fontwell roundabout with the A27.

“Both junctions are sensitive to even small changes in peak hour flows and, therefore, any planning application which has likely impacts to these junctions should robustly consider such matters.”

The development for up to 20,453sq m of general industrial floorspace with warehousing and distribution floorspace was proposed in outline form by Hanbury Properties six months ago.

It has since submitted further highways information to Arun District Council in response to Highways England’s position.

This states the traffic which will be caused by the scheme if its goes ahead will be up to 147 journeys in the morning peak time and 109 in the peak time in the afternoons.

West Sussex County Council’s planning department has recently said it had no objection to the proposals providing that Hanbury Properties pays £50,000 towards works at the A29’s junctions with the Bognor Regis Relief Road and Steyning Way.

Dominic Smith, of its strategic planning section, has said: “It is demonstrated that the junctions will operate in excess of theoretical capacity and, given the nature and importance of the road, this is considered to be a severe impact.”

But testing had shown the impact could be mitigated by improvements to the sites. Because of this, it was appropriate for the proposed development to make a contribution to the works.

Hanbury Properties said in its application the proposed scheme had been prompted by the impending arrival of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars nearby.

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