Development proposals threat rat run in Southwater

JPCT 190312 Peter Kindersley - concerned about traffic on Tower Hill. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 190312 Peter Kindersley - concerned about traffic on Tower Hill. Photo by Derek Martin

‘RAT-RUNNING’ is feared by a Southwater campaigner as a 550-home development proposal threatens to increase traffic on the A24.

West Sussex County Council asked Berkeley Homes to provide plans showing how they intended to reduce traffic on the A24 therefore reducing its development’s impact on congestion and ‘rat-running’.

Three routes that WSCC believe motorists might use to avoid the Hop Oast roundabout on the A24 are Worthing Road, Southwater Street and Kerves Lane, or Church Lane and Two Mile Ash.

Berkeley has provided a plan which it says solves the issue by widening the entries and exits to Hop Oast roundabout and providing a segregated left turn with a merge taper onto the north-bound A24 from Southwater to decrease congestion.

Peter Kindersley, from the campaign group Keep Southwater Green, said that he is concerned that Berkley has dismissed the risk of it worsening rat-running by quoting journey times from Google maps and implying that the only likely delays are north-bound at the Hop Oast roundabout.

He argues that Google Maps is not a suitable source for data as it does not take into account the traffic delays at rush hour.

He said: “Given that the back route cuts off much of the queue into Horsham in the morning, and in the evening avoids the Hop Oast queue altogether, it is clear why rat running can only worsen in the future.”

“My biggest concern is that the arguments in the technical note are not well highlighted in the HDC Planning report, with HDC and WSCC seeming to accept that the improvements to the Hop Oast will offset the admitted increase in rat-running.”

Mr Kindersley, who lives in Tower Hill in Horsham, argues that the proposed changes to the Hop Oast roundabout do nothing to improve the issue, and in fact will just speed people from Southwater into a longer queue.

The plans show few amendments to the Hop Oast roundabout to reduce traffic going straight over the roundabout on the A24 or from Southwater to Worthing road where the majority of the traffic builds on the way into town.

Southwater Parish Council said: “The parish council is of the opinion that the proposed new filter lane at the Hop Oast roundabout would be of benefit to current residents enabling them to leave the village more easily at peak periods. 

“However, the council do not consider that the benefits of such a filter lane override its current objections to this application as being contrary to planning policies, such as already indicated in its previous recommendations to the district council.”

Berkeley’s plans for Southwater are currently under review due to English Heritage’s upgrading in February of Great House Farm off Worthing Road to Grade II* listed status.