Hooley residents claim A23 plan will slash thousands of pounds from the value of their homes
Residents are fearing the impact on both the village, its surroundings and in their pockets if Highways England work to widen the A23 goes ahead.
Hooley residents stated they feel the current plans to widen the A23 through the village “will destroy it” and cost some of them “thousands of pounds” in the value of their homes.
Speaking at a public consultation event attended by more than 200 local people on Friday (July 27) and Saturday morning at Hooley Village Hall, locals expressed their feelings over the current plans.
Several residents stated their preference for a roundabout to be installed at south of the junction with Dean Lane where Starbucks is as a way to remedy traffic flow problems while some felt that without Gatwick Airport getting a new runway there “isn’t a licence” for the current plans.
Work is expected to get under way next June to expand the northbound side so that it has two lanes from the Starbucks at Dean Lane to the existing dual carriageway at the Netherne Drive junction.
Completion on the A23 (Brighton Road) will be at least eight months later in the spring of 2020.
David Manners, 54, has lived on Brighton Road for three years and said: “We are already sick of it as residents. We’ve had workmen drilling in the road late at night for weeks and they told us it was maintenance but we feel with all the markings that they are clearly getting ready for the work.
“My neighbour has a young baby and she’s complained to them on several nights. If they go ahead with the work it will destroy it, our village will suffer worse pollution and mess from the road, it will be louder and my house’s value will probably fall like thousands.
“It won’t improve traffic, it will push the bottleneck further up at Coulsdon and bite their residents in the backside. This consultation feels like a box ticking exercise as if they really cared they wouldn’t be spending money on already beginning any work. It won’t improve.”
Miss Hilary Godwin, 60, has lived on Brighton Road for 33 years and said: “This will devalue our properties significantly, I asked them about it and they said we’d have to fill out some forms but we know how long that could take. We have our house on the market at the moment and people are already wary because of the proposed work.
“The road is bad enough as it is and if they do this work then I don’t want to be here. You want to be able to get in and out of your house safely and you won’t and we should have been consulted before any road markings went down which have made people very upset.”
Also people expressed fearing traffic will get worse due to the continuing development of the former Cane Hill Park hospital site into hundreds of homes and that Star Lane and other back roads through Chipstead will become “a rat run like they used to be before the Coulsdon flyover”, according to Danny Daniel, chairman of Hooley Residents’ Association.
The current project will cost the government around £3.5 million and is part of Highways England £30 million plans to improve traffic on or around eight different junctions in the next two years.
Nick Smart, of Church Lane, said: “This would have been justified if Gatwick Airport was picked over Heathrow for the extra runway and was being expanded, then this work would be needed.
“It feels like they are just moving things, not improving things. There is also no thought about tees or other ways to compensate the loss of the green verges to spate the houses like some plans do with good architecture designs and the fact that more traffic will be brought onto the road if it is working better.”
Tommy Whittingham, who is managing the planned worked for Highways England, was seen speaking to a large number of residents and said: “It’s been well attended which is good and is the reason we are holding these to get the input of residents.
“There has been a lot of views and feelings about different problems but given the response, we’ve already had that hasn’t surprised me. If people can get in touch, not just about what they don’t like but what they do and general feelings then that would be really helpful. The scheme we have at the moment is the best we think we can construct which achieves our aim of improving traffic flow and congestion through Hooley. There is limited space but its imported we engage with residents and keep them regularly updated.”