In 1985 the Secretary of State for Transport appointed
Consultants to carry out a fresh study of the A27 trunk road in
Worthing and Lancing. A full report showing four possible
solutions for improving the road together with the Consultants
recommended solution has now been submitted to the Secretary of
Argument has raged for many years over the A27 by-pass and it is
by no means a new issue. In 1977 a 'Blue Route' was
proposed consisting of a four lane dual carriageway along
Arundel Road over Offington roundabout and the golf course. In
this plan there was no provision for a tunnel at Lancing Ring
and there was a lot of public pressure. The oil crises at the
time meant the volume of traffic using the road could not be
guaranteed of increasing and the government had to scrap the
At that time the road could not be justified in terms of capital
expenditure but now the situation has changed and the amount of
traffic using the A27 has grown beyond all expectations. Most
people agree that something will have to be done about the
amount of traffic using the A27 however the consultants
proposals have caused much controversy. This is because there
are only two types of land they can choose between, the
countryside of the South Downs and the residential areas of
Worthing, Sompting and Lancing.
Above. The cover from
John's 1988 project
There is little doubt a by-pass
will be built and there is no way it can suit everybody. For the
proposals to be successful a satisfactory balance must be found.
In this enquiry I shall attempt to find out if the disruption
that will be caused by the road will be justified.
The A27 through Worthing and Lancing forms part of the South
Coast trunk route which the Department of Transport is currently
improving with a number of schemes. This particular section of
the road requires a by-pass because at the moment it has a dual
purpose; it serves the residential and industrial areas of
Worthing and Lancing as well as being a link in the South coast
trunk road for through traffic. To find out how great the volume
of traffic is on the A27 I took a traffic survey at Lancing
I have condensed the information to show the amount of traffic
using the roundabout in all directions in a fifteen minute
Above. The original planned
routes by colour
16th August 1988. (Weekday)
Description of traffic flow
Volumes of each traffic category
Lorries, Vans and Tankers
Buses and Coaches
Motor Cycles and Scooters
Traffic all directions (15 mins.) 8.00
Traffic all directions (15 mins) 12.00
Traffic all directions (15 mins.) 5.00 pm
The results of this survey show that the A27 through Lancing is
used by a lot of commercial vehicles and people going to and
from work. It is unlikely that many of these vehicles would be
stopping in Lancing so the amount of this sort of traffic would
be greatly cut if a quicker route in the form of a by-pass was
A by-pass would also make it much easier for those people who
live on or near the A27 as they find it very difficult to get to
their houses at present. Due to the demise of the London docks a
lot of timber and other imported supplies are delivered to
Shoreham or Newhaven and then transported by road.
Some local residents have even claimed that the by-pass is being
built to accommodate traffic from the channel tunnel but it is
unlikely that many extra vehicles will come to this area as a
result of that. The question is, does all this justify the new
THE OPTIONS AND PLANS
Four possible solutions to the A27 problem were presented by the Government's
consultants. However, other points such as tunnels under Areas of Outstanding
Natural Beauty and interchanges to rejoin with the existing network have been
left as details.
In parts of the continent many of the roads go underground. A tunnel under
Lancing Hill would greatly reduce the impact the by-pass would make on the
environment and would only cost a small percentage of the overall expenditure. A
possible tunnel under Lancing Hill.
All the leaflet shows is the area that each of the four routes would go through.
Above. 1988 photo of Lancing Manor
Route 1. Outer Findon Route
(Yellow on Map)
This route has gained some popularity because it only involves the demolition of
two houses but it would have the greatest impact on the environment, however, as
it is entirely within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty particularly in the
Long furlong valley and at
Ring. It is the furthest away from the urban area, but would offer the poorest
return on investment. In an interview I had with him
Cliff Robinson; explained why:
"The outer routes would not attract traffic because the further you put the
by-pass out of the urban area the less traffic will use it. Statistics gathered
over many years have pointed to the fact that somewhere between 70 - 75% of
traffic presently using the A27, whether eastbound or westbound is traffic
originating in or moving between Brighton and Littlehampton. We want as much as
possible of that traffic to use the by-pass, where as if the by-pass followed
any of the outer routes the traffic would not be prepared to use them and go
three miles out of their way, they would just use the existing route and that
would mean the by-pass would soon be a total failure."
Route 2. Findon Gap Route
(Blue on Map)
The same arguments also apply to this route. The route has proved popular with
the public (although there has been some campaigning against it in Findon).
However this route is also totally unpractical and would just not get used.
Route 3. Inner with Lancing by-pass
(Green on Map)
This plan has been agreed by. both the Department of Transport and the local
council, as the most practical route. However, to call it a by-pass is not
really correct as it goes behind Lancing and Sompting but through the Worthing
district. With this in mind I again asked Cllr.
Robinson if he supported his council's decision that the inner route with a
Lancing by-pass was the best route.
Above. Hill Barn Farm in North Lancing
looking down towards The Adur
He agreed that it was with the condition
that there was a tunnel under Lancing Hill.
"In 1976 when there was a similar dilemma many people would have
a similar route had the tunnel
but the government of the time was not prepared to give a tunnel once it had
been suggested. This then, became the stand of the District Council and that of
many of the local populace."
Local pressure was definitely a factor in the scrapping of the 1975 plan but
there were other considerations.
At the time
there was an oil crisis and consultants were unsure whether car use would
continue to rise or even remain at a steady rate.
Another factor was that the money was needed for the higher priority M25 London
Route 4. Inner Route with On-Line at Lancing
(Mauve on map)
This plan purely involves widening and upgrading the existing A27. It affects
very little open space and it is predicted it would attract most traffic.
However, the plan involves the demolition of 215 properties and would
effectively split Lancing in two.
The A27 by-pass will have a big impact on the landscape around Lancing, Sompting
and Worthing. Apart from the road itself there will be new roundabouts and
interchanges and some existing roads will be blocked off.
The by-pass will go down the valley rejoining with the existing network via an
interchange near the Sussex Pad hotel.
be another interchange at Grinstead Lane and another at Bus tide Lane.
PEOPLE AFFECTED AND THE RESISTANCE
Although a lot of people will be affected by the A27 by-pass, it will be far
worse for some than for others. At least ninety families will lose their homes
or find they are almost cut off, while others will find routes they use
regularly will disappear.
One furious resident of Lancing is Mrs. Sylvia Barton. She and her late husband
gave 40 acres of land that make up Lancing Clump to the people of Lancing in
1949. Now she finds there are plans to build a road across the Clump as well as
her own farm. Talking to a reporter from the Lancing Herald she
"We gave that land to the people - not for some new road. The deeds said it was
being given 'for the enjoyment of the people of Lancing for ever". We must
protect the Downs for our children and children's children."
Mrs Barton then went on to stress the shortage of open space in the
area. She has had no trouble finding support for her cause in Lancing.
Sompting villager Ted Luxford said 'Its wicked to think of going near the clump. It is in Worthing that most voices' have been raised in protest. Through
Worthing the plan is to widen the existing road demolishing houses on both
Above. Mrs Barton as pictured in the local
Action Committees have been set up to organise protests and these groups have
used questionnaires to find out what people really think. (see appendix)
An opportunity for local residents to air their views was provided at Lancing
Manor Leisure Centre on 21st June 1988 from 2.00pm - 5-OOpm. I attended this to
get a better idea of the views of the local people as well as to have a chance
to ask the consultants questions. The mood was interested but at times angry
and there were several heated confrontations as council representatives argued
that those complaining about the by-pass rarely visited the South Downs anyway.
Available for examination was the full consultants report but as this was over
and inch thick it gave no opportunity for detailed study.
As the road will go down Barton's valley, it will go very close to Lancing
College and I brought this matter up when I spoke to Cllr. Robinson. He said
that although the by-pass would go over some of the college land it would not
directly affect it. The college would not be cut off as there would be bridges
or tunnels connecting it with Lancing. The headmaster of Lancing College does
not agree with this viewpoint and is actively opposing the new road.
The original route that was proposed for the A27 by-pass involved going
over Southwick Hill, but this land is owned by the National Trust. The only way
to overrule the Trust's decision is to take the matter to Parliament, but there
is little chance of any M.P's voting against a national institution. This
proposal was scrapped but unfortunately the Trust does not own Lancing Clump.
Above. Protest group questionnaire filled
in by the locals
For the completion of-this enquiry there are several conclusions which I will
have to make.
(1) Is there a definite need for an A27 by-pass?
There is some congestion on the existing A27 although this does not seem to
warrant the huge impact that the by-pass will cause. However, the M.O.T.
consultants have forecast that the traffic on the A27 is set to increase in
volume. As the road is a multi-million pound project the M.O.T. must believe
that there is a real need and I have to agree with them.
(2) Which is the best of the four routes proposed?
Of the four routes put forward by the consultants the only one that is at all
practical is the Inner Route with the Lancing by-pass. This route however, is
very unpopular with the residents of Worthing and is only acceptable to Lancing
with a tunnel under Lancing Hill. I feel this route is the best of a bad bunch.
(3) What impact will the by-pass have?
The by-pass will have a large impact on the whole area, particularly during the
construction stages. Landscaping will be needed along with additional open
space to compensate for that taken. The new road is now inevitable but pressure
will have to be maintained to make sure that the best result for the whole area
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Councillor and Mrs. Robinson,
The Staff of Lancing Manor Leisure Centre,
Mrs. Sylvia Barton and Mrs. M. Walker (typist).
Interview with Cllr. Cliff Robinson (S.L.D.) (Local and W.S.C.C.)
and Cllr. Mrs M. Robinson (Local) 6.45-pmon 1st September 1988.
Q. What do you think will be the main advantages and disadvantages to Lancing
after the new by-pass is built.
Well I think it cannot be disputed that the traffic growth on the
A27 in recent years has exceeded all expectations, so therefore if the road is
not improved in whatever location then it means life will become very hard not
only for vehicles using the A27 through Lancing and Worthing but also it will
have a severe environmental impact on those people living on or near the present
road. There would be a huge benefit on moving the main A27 some distance away.
Any disadvantages would be environmental but it is a case of weighing up the
disadvantages. For example if the road was to be improved along its existing
route the disadvantages would be tremendous, it would in fact bisect clean
through Lancing and divide North Lancing from the rest of the town.
Above. Lancing Parish Council questionnaire
on the proposals
to provide a means for traffic to get from north to south and visa versa there
would have to be three very large flyovers. One at Sompting Church to serve the
Steyning route. Another at Bus tide Lane and quite a large one at Lancing Manor
which would take up a very large part of the green area and would almost
certainly cause the demolition of all those properties in the lower part of
Manor Road as well as many houses along the existing route.
The disadvantages of going over the downs or behind the downs, whichever the
case will be, is environmental and really nobody particularly welcomes any of the
proposals, but it is a case of facing the facts.
The green route, which is the route favoured by the consultants will be the
least detrimental environmentally speaking and if we can secure from the D.o.T.
the tunnel under the area of Lancing Ring, then I think we will have achieved a
great deal in the conservation of the public open space around Lancing Hill and
around Sompting. The outer routes would not attract traffic away from the
existing A27, as the further you put the by-pass out of the urban area the less
traffic will use it. Statistics gathered over many years have pointed to the
fact that somewhere between 70 - 75% of traffic presently using the A27 whether
eastbound or westbound is traffic originating or moving between Brighton and
Littlehampton. We want as much as possible of that traffic to use the by-pass,
where as if the by-pass followed any of the outer routes the traffic would just
not go there. If vehicles would have to go two or three miles out of their way
they would just use the existing route and that would mean that the expense of
the by-pass would be a total failure.
Q. Are there any plans to replace the public open space taken by the new road?
Well, if the tunnel is achieved and this is suggested in the
paper by the
surveyors then there will be a minimum loss of public open space. But in the
event of public open space being taken up in the building of the road then it is
my understanding that the D.o.T. would compensate by providing further land to
the local authority and Adur District Council welcomes the prospect of any
Q. Does not this mean that the compensatory land for land taken in Lancing may
not actually be in Lancing?
I feel there is little doubt that it could be anywhere else.
As the route
goes through private land the M.O.T. will inevitably have to buy land and what
is left may not be suitable for building purposes. This will possibly become
compensatory public open space. These are, matters of detail and will have to
be thrashed out later.
Q. Do you know what will happen to the Steyning Road over the Downs?
That road will still remain in existence. Whether there will be any need
for roads to pass either over or under is again a matter of detail
Q. Do you agree with your Council's opinion that the best route is the inner
route with a Lancing by-pass as long as there is a tunnel under Lancing Ring?
Yes. In 1976 when there was a very similar dilemma in front of us, many of
us would have favoured a similar route had the tunnel materialised but the
government of the time was not prepared to give a tunnel after it had been
suggested to them. This, therefore, became the stand of the district council
and I think also of the local populace. Furthermore it could be argued at that
time (1975 - 1976) there was a world oil crises and we could not guarantee that
there were enough supplies to sustain the volume of traffic and so there was a
very good argument at that time that the road could not be justified in terms of
capital. The situation has now changed as we have various supplies of energy
and that the traffic has again grown beyond all expectations.
Q. Was the 1976 plan also scrapped because money was needed for the London
Orbital Road (M25)?
Well, that could easily have been a factor. I think there
was such an outcry in this area against the plan the Government
took the sensible view that there were other areas deserving
trunk roads and motorways with less resistance and so it was a
fairly logical step for them to shelve the plan, and go
elsewhere. There was still extremely strong opposition to the
M25 and before it could be built there were many long enquiries.
Q. Do you know the views of Lancing College on the road as it will practically
cut them off?
I have had no direct contact with the college although I would
proposed highway down Barton's valley would go through part of the College's
ground, cutting off Hoe Court from the College, but I do not expect this will
make a big difference.