Highways bosses refuse to give dates for A27 consultations now JUST DAYS AWAY

Option Six draft map, showing a possible new southern route. �Crown copyright 2016 Ordnance Survey. Media 013/16
Option Six draft map, showing a possible new southern route. �Crown copyright 2016 Ordnance Survey. Media 013/16

The public consultations are just days away - but Highways England is refusing to release the dates and locations for where information on Chichester’s A27 improvements will be heard.

The Government authority for highways has refused to say when and where the consultations will be held, despite the Observer learning that halls have been booked and at least one consultation is just two weeks away.

A congested A27 coming into Chichester from the west

A congested A27 coming into Chichester from the west

According to minutes from Lavant Parish Council, public consultations with Mott McDonald will take place all day in the Memorial Hall on March 17 and 18, and in the afternoon on March 19.

The Observer rang the bookings secretary at the Memorial Hall, who confirmed a MM was booked to use the hall on those dates.

Despite those consultations starting in only 15 days, a spokesman would only say: “Highways England is committed to holding a public consultation on this scheme and will release the details of the consultation in due course.”

One parish council is taking matters into its own hands.

One of the draft route options for a new northern route, which has now been dropped.�Crown copyright 2016 Ordnance Survey. Media 013/16

One of the draft route options for a new northern route, which has now been dropped.�Crown copyright 2016 Ordnance Survey. Media 013/16

Fishbourne Parish Council chairman Geoff Hand said: “To help compensate for the lack of information from Highways England/Mott Macdonald, we are holding an open meeting at the Fishbourne Centre on Friday, March 4 at 7.30pm.”

A start date of March 12 for the consultations has been mentioned by councillors, while apparent plans to hold just one public consultation for the whole Manhood Peninsula has evoked fury from people living south of the A27.

Highways England and consultant Mott McDonald have come under intense criticism over the entire handling of plans to improve Chichester’s A27 from senior councillors, MP Andrew Tyrie, concerned members of the public and the Observer and Spirit FM as part of a joint campaign.

Continued delays in the consultations which were initially due to take place last year; the size of the six-week consultation which is now due to be seven weeks; councillors being denied access to a crucial meeting; and the lack of any official information on route options have all been slammed.

Highways England has repeatedly turned down requests for interviews from the Observer and Spirit FM.

The seven draft options being proposed, which include two for a new northern bypass, a part southern bypass and four options to upgrade the existing stretch, have still not officially been released by Highways England.

After the maps were widely circulated amongst councillors and some residents, the Observer and Spirit FM took the decision to publish the draft options, a decision that was brandished ‘irresponsible’ by Highways England.

http://www.chichester.co.uk/news/local/major-a27-update-all-seven-route-maps-for-chichester-revealed-here-1-7151417

It is currently unclear when Highways England plans to give exact dates and locations for the public consultations on what is the biggest transport decision the area has seen for decades.

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