Reprieve for Downend Road

Ashley Brown of the Portchester Focus Team writes: We are pleased that the Planning committee again refused the Planning Application from Miller Homes to develop 350 dwellings east of Downend Road.

As in the previous refusal the issue was all about traffic generation and traffic/pedestrians crossing the Downend Railway road bridge.

The developer, in light of the previous refusal, proposed that there should be a pedestrian footpath on the western side of the bridge with single file traffic controlled by traffic lights over the bridge.

The issues that came out in the Planning committee discussion were that the proposed development would increase the traffic on Downend Road by a third.

The pavement over the bridge did not link to the development because anybody walking out of the proposed development would have to cross Downend Road to get on to the footpath.

The proposed traffic lights did not have a pedestrian crossing phase: if it had, this would lengthen the time delay for traffic movement.

Traffic exiting The Causeway was also an issue in light of the recent experience when repairs were made to the bridge with temporary traffic light control. That caused congestion in the area and traffic could not exit out of The Causeway.

This was at a time when traffic volumes were at about 80% of traffic before Covid 19 lockdown.

We can imagine the effects of fulltime traffic lights at the bridge in normal times, with the extra traffic from the development.

The highway department had done all their traffic modelling on traffic volumes presented by the developer and did not carry out their own independent count; the modelling showed that only six vehicles would queue at the traffic lights at peak periods.

We thank all the members of the public who gave a deputation to the committee as to why the planning application should be refused.

The Planning committee rejected the application with five members voting against the application and four voting in favour of the application.

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