📄 Southleigh development relief road

From  Phil Munday
(Chair of St Faiths & Emsworth Labour Party)
To  Tim Pike; David Guest; Jackie Branson
(St Faiths Ward Councillors)
23 November 2020

Dear Councillors,

I am contacting you in relation to the plans for the Southleigh development between Emsworth and Denvilles.

I attended both of the consultation workshops in March 2017.  At the workshops we were told that the development of Southleigh ‘offers the opportunity to provide an additional bridged crossing of the railway line and direct access to the A27.’

This was also seen as a benefit to existing residents of Warblington and Denvilles, who suffer from the traffic congestion along Southleigh Road linked to the railway crossing at Warblington Station.

There was almost universal support for this proposal as a precondition of development of the site.

At the second workshop we were also told that our local MP was approaching government ministers to get access to a new fund supporting infrastructure needs linked to new housing development.

Since the workshops I have heard no news as to progress with the plan other than the publication of the Draft Plan and now the consultation on the revised plan.

This is somewhat ambiguous because:

  • The initial public consultation in March 2017 led to the publication of a draft masterplan in December 2017 which took forward the assumed need for the new junction and planned it into the draft high level layout for the site.
  • The Transport Assessment in February 2020 indicates that ‘At a meeting with Highways England in June 2018 to discuss the opportunities for a new direct access onto the A27, it was confirmed that assessment of options that made use of the existing junction at Warblington rather than a new junction, would be favoured in the first instance.  This position was reaffirmed by Hampshire Services, who … advised that it would be possible to design mitigation measures to deal with the impact … in a way that required smaller scale intervention.’
  • The current consultation on the draft revised plan includes the statement:  ‘If shown to be necessary through a site-specific TA, a new access to the A27 and a link road through the site [will be progressed]’.

It is of concern that the possibility is being considered of not providing the new junction, or maybe not building a relief road at all.

This is contrary to what we were told at the public consultation yet is not being openly shared with residents and can only be found by reading long and detailed documents, which incidentally are not available in printed form.

As a long term resident of Denvilles I am increasingly aware of the long traffic queues at Warblington level crossing.

The development of the Southleigh site can only exacerbate an already difficult situation and lead even more cars to take alternative routes, thereby congesting other roads in the Borough such as North Street Emsworth, Bartons Road, Petersfield Road and Park Road North.

In the Transport Assessment the figures given for queues at the railway crossing in table 12 on p91 indicated significantly lower queuing due to the development than already exists!

I include below my counting of the queues this last week.  As you can see the queue is already very substantial despite a lockdown being in place:

Date/Time Southbound Northbound Remarks
Sat 14 Nov at 10.00 20 18 1 train
Wed 18 Nov at 14.45 31 21+ 2 trains
Fri 20 Nov at 10.35 20 28+ 2 trains
Sun 22 Nov at 10.15 10 14 1 train
Sun 22 Nov at 16.00 16 21 No trains!

I will of course express my views as part of the current consultation.

Please could you tell me what your personal views are on this matter and if you agree that the relief road to a new junction is necessary then what action do you propose we should take to ensure that it is built?

Yours sincerely,

Phil Munday

From  Tim Pike
(St Faiths ward councillor)
To  Phil Munday
(Chair of St Faiths & Emsworth Labour Party)
23 November 2020

Thank you for your message Phil.

I think you’ve outlined the correct position.  The Local Plan has identified that the direct access road from the A27 is both required and possible – that’s all the local plan needs to say at this stage.

The next stage is for a developer and/or the owners of the site to commence discussions with the Council, but the timescales are very much in the site owners’ hands.  I would prefer the whole site to come forward in a managed way, that way securing the access road early in the construction timetable.

I would agree with you that the direct access road would have other benefits, like relieving Southleigh Road and Park Road North/South.  So I’d like to see this site moving forwards and I’m raising the matter with the Portfolio Holder.

So in summary, I feel the Council has done what is required to ensure the access road is provided as part of any development in this area, and I’ll be continuing to work with Councillors and developers to ensure the development makes the most of the opportunity to build a sustainable and high quality housing area.

Best wishes

Cllr Tim Pike

From  David Guest
(St Faiths ward councillor)
To  Phil Munday
(Chair of St Faiths & Emsworth Labour Party)
24 November 2020

Dear Philip

Thank you for contacting me and for your comments on the proposed relief road.

Development of Southleigh is a principal proposal in the Local Plan 2036 currently progressing towards examination in public and eventual adoption by HBC.

The relief road is in my view essential to support such a large scale development.

I’m advised that proposals are still being investigated for use of the Warblington A27 junction, but I remain to be persuaded that this would be the best option as it would necessitate a railway bridge whereas a junction at the existing A27 fuel stations could avoid such a major requirement.

Rest assured that I shall continue to take a keen interest in the subject.

Kind regards

Cllr David Guest

From  Phil Munday
To  Tim Pike & David Guest
(St Faiths Ward Councillors)
26 November 2020

Dear Councillors Pike and Guest,

Thank you for your prompt replies and commitment to support the Link Road.

At the consultation workshops I think residents were mostly persuaded that the development was understandable bearing in mind the housing targets that the Borough has been given. 

Personally I can see a good argument that with the right infrastructure there are fewer environmental and aesthetic arguments against the Southleigh site than other greenfield sites in the Borough, provided the cycle paths, pedestrian crossing promised at Warblington Station and link road to the A27 are in place early in the development. 

There does though remain an element of doubt in the Transport Assessment, which surely needs to be clarified and resolved in the Revised Local Plan. 

Essentially the current consultation on changes could and should make clear that the Link Road is an essential component of any plan to unlock the land for development.

Yours sincerely,

Phil Munday

Click here for our article with the latest upates on this matter.

Click here to see other relevant correspondence.