Greens call on transport secretary to abandon ‘short-sighted’ A27 plans for Chichester

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie (left) were met by protesters outside the Chichester Conservative Association dinner last week
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie (left) were met by protesters outside the Chichester Conservative Association dinner last week

Transport secretary Chris Grayling was met by Green campaigners in Chichester last night, who urged him to abandon the Government’s major plans for the A27.

Members of new transport forum Chichester Moves On and Green Party city councillor Sarah Sharp met Mr Grayling MP and Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie ahead of the annual Chichester Conservative Association dinner.

They handed Mr Grayling a letter calling for him to consider a new park and ride scheme and other more sustainable options than increasing road capacity to ease long-standing congestion around the city.

Cllr Sharp said afterwards: “I hope that Chris Grayling will take into consideration park and ride and other sustainable travel solutions to our transport chaos. 1970s road building isn’t the solution and the destruction of homes and fields should be avoided at all costs.

“I am very pleased that Chris Grayling promised to read our letter.”

Mr Grayling, who had been caught in traffic, would not be drawn on questions regarding the Chichester A27 scheme, the Greens said.

Highways England is currently considering a preferred route following the ten-week public consultations on five different options.

The schemes cost from £47m-£280m and range from major new flyovers and a new southern link road over the canal, to only minor alterations to the roundabouts. Up to 20 buildings could be demolished, including homes and Stockbridge House.

The letter, which received the backing of Green MEP for the South East Keith Taylor, calls for any decision on the A27 to ‘take fully into account the wellbeing of the people of Chichester, the surrounding communities and our natural environment’.

It calls the Highways England A27 project ‘short-sighted and a waste of public expenditure’ to improve journey times by a maximum of 5mins 40secs, and urges a more holistic approach to all forms of transport.

Adding his support, Mr Taylor, a Green MEP and member of the European Parliament’s transport committee, said: “This issue is vitally important, not just to the people of Chichester or to me, but to the planet too.

“Current proposals to ‘upgrade’ the A27 are an example of the government’s short-sighted and unsustainable approach to transport planning.

He added that the public consultation had shown that all five of the options being considered were ‘equally unpopular and environmentally destructive’.

Mr Grayling is expected to announce his preferred route early next year, and another public consultation will then follow.

Do you agree with the Greens that a radical rethink is needed on the A27 project to focus on more environmentally friendly alternatives?

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