The Oving traffic lights on the A27 will definitely close after the Government overturned Chichester planners’ decision to keep them.
Last month Chichester District Council’s planning committee voted to approve an application by Oving Parish Council to save the lights, which meant the final decision was deferred to the secretary of state for transport, Chris Grayling.
In a letter sent to Jeremy Bushell, principal planning officer at CDC, on Monday, October 24, on behalf of Mr Grayling MP, it said the secretary of state ‘hereby directs that the application be deferred indefinitely’.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport confirmed to the Observer that the decision meant the lights would definitely close, and that that decision was final.
The top level decision brings to an end the three-year fight by Oving Parish Council, after the junction closure was agreed as part of the approval in 2013 for more than 500 homes currently being built at Shopwyke Lakes.
It means the junction will initially be closed off to all traffic except buses, before eventually being completely closed, meaning motorists who regularly use the lights will instead have to access Chichester from either the Bognor or Portfield roundabouts on the A27.
The letter to Mr Bushell gives four reasons for the decision:
“It would go against transport policy, which is laid out in DfT Circular 02/13 Development on the Strategic Road Network which explains the practices of Highways England for maintaining, managing and operating a safe and efficient strategic road network.
“It would go against planning policy which...states that planning permission should not be refused on transport grounds unless the residual and cumulative impacts are severe. In this case the conditions were applied to mitigate the severe impacts of the development on the Strategic Road Network.
“The developer does not support the removal of the conditions.
“The applicant has had opportunities to substantiate their case for the application to remove the conditions but has not provided robust evidence to support their application.”
Responding to the decision, Oving Parish Council chairman Sjoerd Schuyleman said: “I am very disappointed that we have not received the decision we expected from the Secretary of State for Transport to keep the Oving Traffic Lights open.
“This decision has not taken into account the views of thousands of supporters and flies in the face of democracy as the decision made by the CDC Planning Committee cannot be implemented now.”
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