A27 ‘can accommodate’ Lancing IKEA traffic spikes, experts claim

An artist's impression of how the new IKEA in Lancing could look SUS-170130-152954001
An artist's impression of how the new IKEA in Lancing could look SUS-170130-152954001

A new A27 roundabout and removal of the Sussex Pad traffic lights are at the heart of plans to help the A27 cope with the New Monks Farm development.

The changes, which also include improvements to the Manor roundabout and a new 50mph speed limit in the vicinity of the new signalised roundabout, will help control flows, traffic consultants say.

A masterplan of the New Monks Farm development

A masterplan of the New Monks Farm development

To assess the likely impact of 600 homes and an IKEA, the developer’s transport study analysed current traffic flows and estimated movements as a result of the development.

Currently, the A27’s weekday morning peak traffic is around 14 per cent higher than evening rush hour and 43 per cent higher than Saturday’s busiest period. The study states IKEA, which will generate the majority of the development’s traffic, will open at 10am, minimising its impact on morning rush hour.

Saturday’s peak, meanwhile, will see the highest number of cars on the network associated with IKEA.

According to the study, the development as a whole – which includes IKEA, the 600 homes and commercial development at Shoreham Airport – will result in around 1,193 vehicle movements to and from the site between 2.30pm and 3.30pm on Saturdays.

IKEA traffic accounts for 1,021 of those trips, a sharp spike in the estimated 351 journeys predicted in weekday rush hour.

But the study claims the network will be able to cope with the increase as weekend traffic is lower than weekdays.

“The Saturday network traffic flows are considerably lower than either the weekday morning or evening and therefore could accommodate additional development traffic.”

Traffic consultants Vectos also argue a number of the journeys will be made by those already using the network.

Martin Perry, director of New Monks Farm Development Limited, claimed weekend traffic would not reach the levels seen on weekday mornings.

The transport study indicate that on the A27 between the new junction and Grinstead Lane, weekday morning peak traffic would still be 31 per cent higher than Saturday’s busiest period.

Labour Lancing parish councillor Lee Cowen said he was concerned infrastructure problems had not been fully addressed. He shared the views of 436 out of 829 people who responded to a pre-application consultation who feared the traffic impact on the A27.

Mr Cowen said: “Non-peak traffic and weekend traffic are going to be seriously impacted and it’s not unreasonable to suggest that heavy traffic is going to be a constant, every hour, every day.

“The developer’s commissioned transport assessment reports on trips using IKEA during weekday peak hours and Saturdays but doesn’t make any comment on the impact outside these hours when often the road struggles to cope.”

Mr Cowen said measures to reduce traffic, such as free shuttle buses, park and ride and free local delivery should be considered.

Mr Perry said a specific traffic assessment was not needed outside peak hours as it would be significantly quieter than peak times.

He said shuttle buses could be considered but believed it would be better for the service to be included as part of the local bus network.

Click here to see what residents think of plans for the development’s residential access.