Southern Gateway regeneration unlikely to include level crossing bridges

Basin Road level crossing
Basin Road level crossing

Regeneration of Chichester’s Southern Gateway is unlikely to include bridging over the railway line or tunnelling under it.

Consultants have produced a masterplan for the major redevelopment plans, with hundreds of homes, commercial and leisure space under consideration.

An aerial view of the Southern Gateway. Picture by Eddie Mitchell

An aerial view of the Southern Gateway. Picture by Eddie Mitchell

The document, to be subject of public consultation, includes two options for reconfiguring the city’s gyratory system.

But district councillors were told the cost, visual impact and land needed for bridges or tunnels would be prohibitive.

Richard Plowman, Liberal Democrat councillor for Chichester North told full council on Monday: “I have to ask, have we really done everything to get rid of the level crossing?

“If we don’t we will still have the problem and I believe this is the best opportunity to solve it. The price will go up as time goes on.”

Phil Brady, of Peter Brett Associates, which looked at the project’s transport options, said the plans would not be a ‘magic pill’ to solve the city’s congestion woes.

He said the goal was to cut through traffic and improve accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists.

The two options under consideration are:

Option 1 (£5.3m): restricting access to the Stockbridge Road level crossing to buses and emergency vehicles; realigning Basin Road and a new junction on Stockbridge Road; reducing width and number of lanes of the gyratory.

Option 2 (£8.2m): The same vehicle restrictions at the Stockbridge crossing and realignment of Basin Road and Stockbridge Road junction; but removing the gyratory altogether and in its place extend Avenue de Chartres to connect with Basin Road.

The consultants estimated the cost of bridging or tunnelling at Stockbridge Road and Basin Road would be around £20million. “I think even if the money were available, and it isn’t, it would be a most unattractive prospect having a bridge there,” said leader Tony Dignum, echoing officers’ concerns over the visual impact of a bridge.

Officers warned another alternative, lowering the level of the railway lines, would cause ‘extensive closures’ of the network and threaten the economic viability of the city centre.

Councillors approved the masterplan for consultation, set to begin on June 29, by 24 votes to nine.