Editor says Observer’s A27 survey report was misleading

Picture: Eddie Mitchell
Picture: Eddie Mitchell

A report of the analysis of surveys about Building a Better A27 published in this week’s Observer should have made it clearer that the multi-purpose northern route was the most popular of the offline options - and not all the options.

Of all the options - online and offline - there was greatest support for improvements to the existing A27.

Responding to criticism that the paper had shown bias in favour of a northern route, editor in chief Gary Shipton accepted that inadvertently the Observer had given a misleading impression.

“It is our clear aim not to take sides in this hugely controversial issue but to report all views as fairly as possible,” he said.

“The most supported on-line solution (underpasses) received 50% support (rising to 67% with mitigation) - percentages that were not included in the article.

“The most popular off-line route (new multi-purpose route) received 44% support (rising to 56% with mitigation).”

He added: “It is important that the community has confidence in our coverage of this issue which is why I have issued this clarification at the first opportunity.”

Responses should not be seen as outright votes, as people were free to support or not support as many of the suggestions as they wanted. Nor was it conducted under referendum conditions - so the outcome was only ever intended as a guide.

The Observer will shortly be publishing the results of an independent Google survey it commissioned across a number of its websites in West Sussex - designed to give a sample view of public opinion.