No improvements A285 Chichester Petworth danger road

A COUNTY councillor has questioned why there are no plans for improvements on one of the country’s most dangerous roads.

Cllr Chris Duncton spoke out at a select committee meeting which axed half of the county’s road improvement schemes.

He asked how the schemes are chosen – as none of them included the accident blackspot at Duncton, once named as one of the top ten most dangerous spots in Britain.

“The A285 from Chichester to Petworth is one of the most dangerous roads in the county and I wonder why that has not been an issue,” he said.

“How much work goes into it and who puts it on the list anyway?”

At the committee meeting, Cllr Heidi Brunsdon also questioned what she called the ‘sausage machine’ process of axing road improvements.

She asked how officers decided which schemes should be axed and which should be saved.

She pointed to the scheme to reduce congestion on to the A27 from the A286 at Stockbridge, Chichester, which was retained even though there was ‘no chance of funding’.

The scheme was approved in 1979, but still remained on the list, untouched, while others were scrapped. “I certainly don’t see the point of keeping the A286 on the list if there is no way of paying for it,” said Cllr Brunsdon.

Officer Darryl Hemmings, team leader for infrastructure and policy, said the A27 was a ‘priority’ with everything else secondary.

Referring to the A286 scheme, transport officer Iain Steane, said the scheme was a ‘long-term aspiration’.

“The A286 is a relief to the A27 and that has been kept in because of development in the south of Chichester,” said Mr Steane.

The A285 at Petworth, has seen a number of near-fatal accidents in the last few years, particularly at Duncton Hill, but no improvements have been planned for the road.

Residents and councillors alike called for action after two cars ploughed into a Duncton house in October, and it was just another on the list in one of dozens of accidents.

The committee voted to uphold the recommendations of officers to keep 11 schemes on the list and to scrap 11.

Three Chichester schemes have been retained, although it is still unclear whether work will take place.

Mr Hemmings said: “For a lot of these schemes there is no money allocated and no programme delivery timetable, just approved schemes.”

He added it was a case of finding funding, either from grants or deals with developers.

One scheme for a Lavant bypass got the chop as it lies within the South Downs National Park, and officers said it was ‘unlikely’ sufficient development would take place there to fund it.

As much of the A285 lies within the national park, it is unlikely a scheme for the road could get sufficient funding.