County road chiefs have spoken out over controversial works to downgrade the Broadbridge Heath bypass.
Part of the A281 between the Tesco roundabout and the Newbridge roundabout was closed off permanently to road users nearly a month ago as a £2m scheme began to downgrade the stretch.
The works have divided opinion in the area with some in support of the project and others left angered by the chaos caused by the closure.
West Sussex County Council said the aim of the scheme was to unite the ‘old and new parts of the village’ and create ‘one community’ in Broadbridge Heath.
The council said the works were being undertaken after being approved as part of the Local Plan, first put forward 12 years ago.
A spokesman said the plan aimed to create one community in Broadbridge Heath, bringing together the new Wickhurst Green development and the old village along Billingshurst Road by removing the busy A281 in the middle.
They added the project would also create more north-south links, reduce traffic through the village and encourage both parts of the community to use the new Neighbourhood Centre, green spaces and pedestrian and cycle links being created off the closed A281.
“Horsham District Council approved the planning principles in 2011 when an outline application for 963 houses was given consent,” the spokesman added. “The road downgrading works were included in the detailed application for the Neighbourhood Centre in 2018 and, again, this was subject to public consultation.”
A petition has been launched calling on drivers and local residents to ‘voice their frustration and concerns’ over the closure.
For more on the bypass works see: Campaign launched over Broadbridge Heath bypass closure