Multi-million pound plans to build the northern section of the Lyminster bypass have been given the nod by West Sussex County Council.
But the road, near Littlehampton, won’t get the final go-ahead until James Brokenshire, secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, confirms whether or not he wishes to take a look at the application himself.
The council has yet to hear from Mr Brokenshire, who was asked to intervene by objectors, who felt the 1.1km stretch of road needed to be redesigned.
Members of the planning committee were told on Tuesday (March 26) that the council now had to wait for his response before their decision could be set in stone.
The single-carriageway road will link the A284, south of the A27 Crossbush junction, with the southern bypass, which is being built as part of the North Littlehampton development.
It is expected to take around 15 months to complete.
Once finished, the bypass will join up with the notoriously busy A259.
The application includes plans for bird and bat boxes as well as badger crossings. In addition, there will be a viaduct over Black Ditch as well as a Pegasus crossing for horses, cyclists and pedestrians half way along the route.
Concerns were raised about the safety of the northern end of the road where it would meet the existing A284.
Planning consultant Rob Huntley, representing resident Mrs Andrews, said: “There would be an unduly tight bend with an abrupt change in the design, speed and character of the road at the northern end.
“This would be a significant accident risk.”
However, principal planner Tim Townsend, of West Sussex Highways, said the design met the required standards.
He added: “If the design is right, the safety will be there.”
Other objections received by the council included concerns about pollution and fears that existing problems with speeding in the area would be made worse.
But there was also plenty of support, with people looking forward to congestion being reduced and road safety through the village of Lyminster being given a boost.
Dan Montagnani, chairman of Lyminster and Crossbush Parish Council, told the meeting that, during 35 hours of monitoring spread over eight months, the Speedwatch team had recorded more than 1,600 incidents of speeding through the village, with the highest clocking in at 65mph in a 30mph zone.
Describing this as ‘unacceptable’, Mr Montagnani added: “There are weekly incidents of vehicles leaving the road and crashing into residents’ garden walls, and countless serious near misses.”
But he shared a number of concerns from the parish, including fears that congestion at the Crossbush roundabout would get worse rather than better.
The application was approved unanimously, with Brian Quinn (Lab, Broadfield) describing it as a ‘win-win situation for motorists and residents’.
Karen Dunn , Local Democracy Reporting Service