What's it all about then?
Well if we want to go back to the very beginning I guess it started about 1934 as new housing marched steadily westward along what is now the A259 south of the South Coast railway line. Soon it became apparent that the existing level crossing at Goring-by-Sea, 3 miles west of Worthing on the Sussex coast, was not going to cope with the increasing amount of traffic being generated, not only by the housing but also by the goods yard that was adjacent to the station. In those dayís most of what was produced locally or brought in, traveled by train and only then distributed by van / lorry.
At some point just before WW2 there was the idea to build a bridge across the railway, then it was suggested why not improve the narrow lane up to the Littlehampton road. From what weíve been told by those who lived in the area around that time, all manner of plans were drawn up for linking Goring and the A259 with the A24 at Findon via Titnore Lane and the Longfurlong across the South Downs.
Like so many schemes there was delay after delay, so by the outbreak of War only an earth embankment that was to be the bridge over the railway was built Ė and that was only on one side. It wasnít until the late 1960ís that the bridge and the 'improved' road to the Littlehampton road were finally completed. But why did they make that road a dual carriageway?
Many stories abound for the reason, but we think the most plausible one was the perceived need for a western bypass of Worthing. Why? because even by the late 1960ís traffic was increasing rapidly and to build more and bigger roads was, and still is, seen as the way to cut congestion. Although we havenít seen the plans, we understand if it hadnít been for the determination of a lady Councillor at Worthing to stop it, that dual carriageway would have by now gone up Titnore Lane over the A27 and then across the Downs to the A24.
Although 40 years on, that desire for a western bypass is still wedded to those who think more roads will solve congestion. So when the land at West Durrington was earmarked for development, Titnore Lane was chosen as one of the feeder routes for traffic to that development. As part of that deal developers would therefore foot the bill for ensuring the Lane could cope with the extra traffic the development generated. It would of course set a president for a major upgrade later.
Well we disagree and so does the Worthing Society, East Preston and Kingston Preservation Society, Worthing and West Sussex Green Partyís, Worthing Friends of the Earth, South Coast Against Roadbuilding, Titnore Emergency Action and the many thousands of local residents who have written letters of objection and signed petitions.
We will not allow any widening, straightening, duelling or whatever to the Lane, for to do so would see one of the most important woodland complex's in southern England eventually destroyed in the name of the Worthing western bypass.
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Ancient Woodland, Hedgerows + Meadows for the Chop
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A MASSIVE battle is shaping up to save unique ancient woodland in West Durrington near Worthing in West Sussex which is under serious threat from Greenfield developers and road builders. Titnore Lane and the site ear-marked for development is located to the east of Highdown Hill between the A27 to the north and A259 to the South. North of the site and the A27 lie Clapham Woods (the largest dip slope unitary ancient woodland complex on the South Downs and the South Downs where the ground rises to above 300 feet. Most of this land is now within the South Downs National Park.
Titnore lane for many years has been a rat run for traffic commuting between the two major south coast trunk roads - now made even worse since being WRONGLY reclassified from the C37 to an 'A' road when the A27 Patching spaghetti junction was built - but its origins likely date back into prehistory as a droveway. From those very earliest times the lane proberly was an important feature in the life of community's, whether it be for moving animals, food or timber the chances are that it has always followed the same meandering trial. But not anymore if developers get there way.
If allowed a horrific plan could see over 1200 houses and various other buildings - outlined in red - eventually constructed on 125 acres of farmland, together with the widening and straightening of Titnore Lane to cope with the increase in traffic between the A27, A259 and the new developments.
Any road works would have a serious impact on the rare ancient semi-natural woodland that most likely has its origins back to the last ice age. Although much of this area has been designated a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) and is completely irreplaceable developers often don't care a ****. It's likely many trees will have to be felled, some over 150 years old and comprising oak, ash birch and willow. The woods will also become more fragmented and a less viable home to the many protected species of wildlife, including bats, crested newts, dormice, slow-worms etc.
These trees are part of one of the last remaining areas of ancient woodland on the coastal plan and ironically the developer accepts that the ancient woodland is of great conservation importance. They agree it is known to support a considerable variety of bird species, Long Tailed Tit, Blackcap, Treecreeper, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. They also accept that the Oaks along Titnore Lane are of high lichenological interest and include Schismatomma quercina which is very rare in Sussex and the uncommon species Arthonia vinosa
Titnore Lane itself is part of our cultural heritage, reaching back at least to the Anglo-Saxon period and most probably way before that. It was part of a longer track that reached northwards across the Downs and is rich in archaeological remains. The woods below Highdown, the important iron age hillfort, are an important amenity for local people and the quality of life would be severely affected by the massive housing estate - and by the increase in traffic.
But that's not all. Although The present development application covers over 125 acres and is outside the South Downs National Park, it goes right up to the boundary. Clearly an alien intrusion on such an iconic landscape. The full area threatened by future development is bordered by the A27, Adur avenue, Fulbeck Avenue, Titnore Way and Titnore Lane The central OS Grid Reference is TQ 1005
That area also contains the Grade 1 listed Castle Goring, it's historic parkland and lake, together with Roman and prehistoric archaeology as well as the unique ancient woodland. It is worthy of note that in his report, the inspector who carried out the Local Inquiry into the Worthing Draft Local Plan stated: 'Proper recognition should be given to the importance of the Castle Goring Conservation Area'.
Finally, the full horror of this nasty scheme would be clearly seen from the view point of Highdown Hill (National Trust) and if the tree canopy is removed as a result of tree felling, the willful vandalism of any alterations to Titnore Lane would dominate and destroy the setting of the South Downs National Park towards the north.
May we please urge you to:
Object to this development by writing / e-mailing with your comments. These should be addressed to:
Executive Head of Planning, Regeneration and Wellbeing, Worthing Borough Council, Portland House, Richmond Road, Worthing, West Sussex. Or e-mail: email@example.com
A letter in your own words will carry more weight than a standard one, so that is what we prefer. However if you feel unsure of what to write please see this sample letter click.
Remember to include your name and address, and all this has to be done NOW if possible.
Then of course with the local election soon upon us why not make a point of letting a councillor or two know how you feel about this development plan.
Then finally, if you live in the constituency of Peter Bottomley the local MP, send him a copy of your letter to the council with a covering note to say how concerned you are. Peter Bottomley can be contacted at Haverfield House, Union Place Worthing.
Or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to copy this text to anyone you think may be interested enough to write.