Chichester district councillors will have their say on the future of the A27 this afternoon in what is likely to be a polarised debate (Tuesday, September 9).
Councillors are advised by officers to support option two in Highways England’s ongoing consultation – the most comprehensive of the five choices at an estimated cost of £280million.
Cabinet members endorsed the recommendation this morning – along with a call for further mitigation measures and improvements – which will now go before full council at 2pm.
The endorsement was made with the exception of Selsey South councillor Roger Barrow, cabinet member for environment.
Mr Barrow abstained in the vote, calling for a northern route to be re-examined by Highways England.
He said: “We have got to face the fact that there is absolutely masses of support in the south for a review of a northern option.
“There are thousands of residents in the south all clamouring for that northern option.”
Mr Barrow believed option two – which includes a new southern link road – was the best of the five options on the table.
But he argued the council would be doing a ‘disservice’ to thousands of residents by ignoring a northern option.
Instead, he said option two would ‘cut communities in half’ and ‘disfigure’ and area of outstanding natural beauty.
Fernhurst councillor Philippa Hardwick, meanwhile, said option two ‘clearly’ met Highways England’s objectives best.
She was interrupted from the public gallery by Fishbourne parish councillor Jamie Fitzjohn, who said he had ‘never heard so much twaddle’.
Speaking after the meeting, he outlined his vision for a tunnelled, northern solution, which he claimed would be less damaging to the environment.
He dismissed all five options, suggesting they would soon need upgrading when construction was complete.
He said: “I believe we are taking two steps back to go one step forward and therefore we are going to put at risk the history, tourism and the economy of this city.”
The council will meet this afternoon at East Pallant House.