The ‘final’ Southleigh A27 junction layout?

[Last edited – 09:30 22/1/21]

One of the more bizarre sentences in the current draft version of the Havant Borough Local Plan 2037 (Pre-Submission version with changes) is highlighted in yellow here:

With all the new housing destined for what was once the green gap between Havant and Emsworth, the plans for an essential new ‘spine’ road to link the A27 in the south with Bartons Road in the north have been under discussion for months, with several different options under review. Now here at last we have the final design proposal for the revised A27 junction at Warblington.

To help you get your head around it, here’s a little graphic looking down on the southern end of the ‘Emsworth gap’. Take a last look at those green fields, already disappearing under Barratts Saxon Corner development, then click the arrow to see how the new junction will fit into the landscape.

If you want to take a look at the possible options that were looked at and discarded, you can take this link to read the feasibility document from 2018 which discussed the various options then on the table. To save you effort, we’ve cut this down to the five pages which cover the two options that were recommended back in 2018, ‘Option 1‘ and ‘Option 4D‘ , click here to download those pages. These will open in a separate browser since you may want to refer to them as you continue down this post.

The ‘final’ decision was published on the 18th December 2020, which happened quite conveniently to be the day after the public consultation on the Local Plan 2037 closed. The new document drops Option 4D in favour of a modified Option 1, now termed ‘Option 1B.

The three layouts options are shown here:

Note: The December 2020 document describing Option 1B does not clarify that “the link road would … cross the railway on a new overbridge to enter Southleigh.” The italicised text is taken from the original Option 1. The word ‘bridge’ is conspicuous by its absence in the current document and we have sought clarification.

The two detailed plans for Option 1B can be viewed by clicking on the images below. These will open as larger A3 scaled files that you can zoom into in a new browser tab. You may need to stare long and hard at these for a while to make sense of them! For example, while it isn’t immediately obvious, the direct access onto the A27 eastbound at the Warblington roundabout is closed, replaced by a loop round the mini-roundabout to the north of the A27, leading into a new slip road onto the A27 before the services.

The second plan shows the Warblington interchange in more detail. New ‘jet lanes’ enable westbound traffic from Emsworth to filter onto the A27 bypassing the southern roundabout, and to enable A27 eastbound traffic to bypass the northern roundabout when doubling back into Havant. Church Lane is realigned to take it away from the southern roundabout.

(If you live in Castle Avenue, you might have fun trying to work out how – if at all – you can drive out onto that junction. It looks a little like the south end of the road has become a cul-de-sac.)

To read the document from which these plans are taken, including the analysis of the traffic modelling that lies behind this recommendation, take this link to the December 2020 consultant’s document.

From an initial scan of the detail, it seems that the consultant has looked at just two scenarios, the first of which uses a loading of 1,100 houses which might be built by the end of the 2037 plan period, the second using the full plan allocation of 2,100 houses. From our initial read, we’re not convinced it caters for the additional load of ‘through traffic’ which will be attempting to get south east to the eastbound A27 from the north, Rowlands Castle and the development south of Horndean in East Hants District Council’s plans. The more the wider population of Havant grows, the more desperate the need for decent north / south road connectivity to relieve the load on Park Road South is needed. Putting a major Last Mile Delivery hub into the former Pfizer site in New Lane might just be the final straw.

The final recommended solution is clearly a cost based compromise, and some might say a short sighted one. The more we look at this plan, the more short term and ‘fragile’ the solution looks.

What do you think? Email us and let us know.