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The West of Chichester Development Southern Access Spine Road Design Must Follow West Sussex County Council and DfT Guidelines for Cycling and Walking

The West of Chichester Development planning application 19/02584/REM contains plans for an approximately 150 metre stretch of the Southern Access road.
Section of Southern Access Road
There is as yet no agreed detailed transport master plan for this road.

Granting permission to build a mid section of the Southern Access Spine road will literally cast into stone many design aspects that must then span the entire length of road. Our transport infrastructure must not be designed like miss-fitting pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

The DfT Manual for Streets (2007) (page 25) recommends…

“table 3.1 “Indicative steps in the design process for new developments and changes to existing streets”

  • Stage 3 (Design) includes “Produce detailed master-plan or scheme layout” a complete design has not yet been revealed to the public.
  • Stage 4 (Quality auditing) Carry out “Particular audits required to assess compliance with objectives” these are then “considered by planning and highway authorities
  • Stage 5. Initially gives “Planning Approval for Outline planning application
  • Stage 5. Finally gives “Planning Approval for Full planning application

Each step is vital in arriving at a satisfactory walking and cycling solution that can serve all residents. Problems will be generated by jumping prematurely to the final planning approval stages if, in particular, the quality auditing stage is omitted.

The section of Southern Access Road shown in the planning application is incapable of carrying a cycleway that meets DfT recommendations. Riding cycles on pavements is considered unsatisfactory.

The DfT Cycle infrastructure design ( (page 10 LTN 2/08) recommends against running cycles along the pavement.

1.3.2 The road network is the most basic (and important) cycling facility available, and the preferred way of providing for cyclists is to create conditions on the carriageway where cyclists are content to use it, particularly in urban areas. There is seldom the opportunity to provide an off ­carriageway route (on-the-pavement) within the highway boundary that does not compromise pedestrian facilities or create potential hazards for cyclists, particularly at side roads.

In Step with advice from the DfT, West Sussex County Council Guidelines Recommend Stepped Cycle Tracks for all Large Residential Developments

New West Sussex County Council design guidelines (page 12) specify that housing development spine roads with over 500 dwellings should have pavements on either side of the road and include segregated cycle lanes, as shown in the diagram below.

Stepped Cycleway

Any suggestion that adequate cycle provision might be successfully retrofitted to the Southern Access Road is unconvincing. Surly, it would be preferable have a satisfactory design from the outset?

There is little point in including additional cycle-stands in this proposal while the road design cements in a poor quality of cycle access via the developments main spine road.

The community action group Friends of Centurion Way has been actively campaigning for over 30 months to try to have a say in how local walking and cycling will be impacted by the Southern Access Road. It does not seem fair to begin building this road without at least inviting their input into a potential detailed transport master-plan for this development.

Indeed, offers of engagement from John Grimshaw (the original architect of Centurion Way) were turned down by developers.

FoCW also believe stepped cycle tracks are necessary, particularly considering as the new Southern Access Road passes Bishop Luffa school it will be expected to carry;

  • Cars, pedestrians and cyclists from the new 1600 house estate
  • Bishop Luffa teachers and students arriving and leaving by bus, car, bicycle and on foot
  • Virtually all pedestrian and cycle traffic between the city and the Tesco Supermarket
  • Pedestrians and Cyclists commuting in and out of the city via the ChEmRoute south coast route.
  • Pedestrians and Cyclists following Salterns Way towards Birdham.
  • Cars and possibly cycles rat running between the Funtington road and the A27
  • Families with prams and mobility scooter users.
  • And last but not least everyone leaving or joining the southern end of Centurion Way

I recommend that a “Cycle audit and review” should be conducted as outlined in section 1.7 of the DfT Cycle infrastructure design guidelines (LTN 2/08) (page 15). These DfT guidelines highlight that campaign groups “can be very helpful in providing specialist expertise” and the Chichester Cycle Forum members would be very happy to be involved.

Many thanks to all members of the planning committee for hearing my heartfelt concerns over this planning application,

Mark Record

Audio of the planning committee meeting that approved this section of southern access spine road is available

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