Open space key to future delivery of A27 footbridge

Land next to a congested junction should not be sold for housebuilding in case it is needed to enable construction of a footbridge over the A27.

Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 2:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 4:13 pm
Residents gathered last year to oppose the Offington land sale

That was the stance of Worthing county councillors last week, as they faced calls to support the principle of a footbridge over the Grove Lodge roundabout.

Supporters believe the bridge would provide a safe crossing point for Worthing College students and residents, enabling the current crossing to be removed to ease congestion.

But a bridge could not be built unless the open space between the roundabout and Offington Avenue remained undeveloped.

West Sussex County Council put the land on the market last year but faced opposition from residents over its sale.

Now, members of the town’s county local committee (CLC) –comprising the area’s county councillors – have urged the authority not to sell the land until the future of the junction is clear.

CLC chairman Paul High said: “We agreed for me to write to the chairman of the cabinet member for finance to ask him to leave that land in abeyance for the possibility it could be used if the footbridge was installed in the future.

“We agreed in principle on safety grounds it would be a good idea to have a footbridge.”

The junction is one of the key pinch-points along the Worthing stretch of the A27.

Highways England is drawing up options to improve the road’s main junctions – with £50-100million earmarked for works between Adur and Worthing.

Louise Murphy, borough councillor for Offington, told the CLC the idea of a footbridge was well-supported.

She said: “This would give students and local residents safe passage to and from the Rotary Ground and Worthing College whilst simultaneously allowing the traffic to flow more freely along that specific part of the A27.

“Although not a silver bullet, I feel that anything that can be done to alleviate congestion at Grove Lodge roundabout must be considered and pursued if viable.”