Highways: ‘Chichester needs to rally behind our option to get A27 money back’

Nearly half of those who responded to the public consultation rejected all five options and that opinion is unlikely to have changed
Nearly half of those who responded to the public consultation rejected all five options and that opinion is unlikely to have changed

For Chichester to get funding for A27 improvements reinstated the community ‘really need to rally behind the proposals’ Highways England put forward last year, the Government company has told the Observer.

And after the shock last week that any chance of reinstating the £250m could disappear after September, Highways reiterated that there may be a limited time frame to get Chichester’s scheme reintroduced.

A Highways England spokesperson said: “The A27 Chichester improvement was cancelled because of a lack of local consensus. “The allocated funding has not yet been reassigned, and there may be a limited window for a case to be made to Government to reintroduce the proposed scheme.

“For this to happen the community really need to rally behind the proposals and - realistically - the option we set out an consultation last year is the only one that is deliverable, affordable, environmentally acceptable and that will provide the improvements that the A27 needs.”

When asked to clarify if he was referring to the five options for upgrading the existing A27 at the July to September 2016 consultation, the spokesman added: “We consulted on the option of upgrading the existing road and offered five potential solutions.

“Other options, including a potential northern bypass, were not options put forward.”

The comments are likely to further infuriate the many who have been working on a community-led approach to a unified solution since the scheme was cancelled in March, who were shocked last week to be told at a meeting of a sudden deadline.

Nearly half (47 per cent) of those who responded to Highways’ consultation voted for ‘no option’, clearly rejecting any of the schemes put forward. The second favoured was option 2, which included a new southern link road.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling cancelled the scheme because he said the proposals did not have the support of either residents or local councils, a situation unlikely to have changed in four months.

Following an angry meeting last week, West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith told the Observer: “We haven’t come this far to be forced by Highways England into accepting what was previously on the table and which residents had rejected in a formal consultation.”

For more information on Highways Englands’ currently cancelled A27 scheme, including videos of the five options, click here.

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