Resident says wind farm lorry route will cause chaos

Dot Gregg Worthing Resident - Rampion Wind Farm using Ham Road for HGV SUS-161002-091130001
Dot Gregg Worthing Resident - Rampion Wind Farm using Ham Road for HGV SUS-161002-091130001

A COUNCILLOR said he has become ‘inundated’ with resident complaints as wind farm construction vehicles plan to route through a ‘narrow’ Worthing road.

West Sussex County Councillor for East Worthing, Roger Oakley, said it is ‘wholly inappropriate’ for HGV vehicles to pass through Ham Road in Worthing during the construction of e.on’s Rampion Offshore Wind Farm.

On Thursday, January 26, residents living close to Ham Road received letters to advice them of the construction taking place offshore to build 116 wind turbines.

Mr Oakley said: “At the same time they also sent out two maps to show where the traffic will be redirected to and from the site, and one of them shows it going through Ham Road.”

Over the years Ham Road has been subject to petitions in a bid to make it either a one way street, restricted access or limit it to smaller vehicles, according to Mr Oakley.

Dot Gregg has lived in Archibald Road for more than 40 years and said Ham Road has always been difficult for vehicles to pass through.

She said: “As you come along Dominion Road you have two schools down there, and when you come over Ham Bridge it narrows down and you have cars parked on either side, so big cars can barely get through there.”

Mrs Gregg said she would like to see all HGV vehicles directed through Western Road and bypass Ham Road.

Mr Oakley said he believed Ham Road was discussed as a route in March last year.

He said: “I must admit I was not made aware of that.

“The road is so narrow there, you can’t have two vehicles going down it at the same time. Traffic would just come to a grinding halt and it wouldn’t move.”

In the letter that e.on delivered to residents most affected by the route, it stated: “Work is due to commence in your area, known as Stage 12, in and around two weeks.

“Stage 12 is made up of a stretch of conventional trenching activity to lay the cables, and also two underground drills underneath key transport routes, to keep traffic and trains moving.”

One of the maps provided shows that construction vehicles undertaking this work will be travelling via Ham Road.

Mrs Gregg said if this is not resolved it will cause chaos on the roads.

She said: “I don’t think a lot people realise the route it will be going to take.

“I’ve been onto County Hall and they are going to look into who gave the authorisation.

“Maybe Rampion decided off their own back this is the route they are going to take. I rang them and they said someone will get back to me in 24 hours and I still haven’t heard anything.”

Mr Oakley said he has also raised these concerns with e.on and West Sussex County Council, but is yet to receive a response.

Work to prepare the seabed for the 116 turbines began in September 2015 and the initial load of foundations arrived on site from the Netherlands at the end of January 2016.

The offshore wind farm will be visible from several coastal viewing points, including Worthing beach, Brighton beach and Birling Gap cliff top.

The ongoing offshore construction work will be project managed from a temporary facility in Newhaven Port until the wind farm’s operations and maintenance base is completed in 2017. During the offshore construction period, it is estimated that 250 to 300 jobs would be created.

It is envisaged that a workforce of up to 100 would be working on the onshore cable route, which will run through Brooklands in East Worthing, up to Bolney.

The Herald contacted e.on and the county council for comment but did not receive a response before going to print.