A27 ‘bias’ claim: Council leader says process is open

Council leader Louise Goldsmith has responded to claims the A27 design process is 'undemocratic'
Council leader Louise Goldsmith has responded to claims the A27 design process is 'undemocratic'

Claims that the A27 design process is ‘totally undemocratic’ and biased have been dismissed by the leader of West Sussex County Council.

Residents from West Broyle say they asked to attend Build A Better A27 meetings more than nine months ago.

Residents gathered together to protest against the makeup of the working group. Picture: Kate Shemilt

Residents gathered together to protest against the makeup of the working group. Picture: Kate Shemilt

West Broyle resident Roger Mills said: “It’s a disgrace that a group which represents so many of those who would be impacted by any northern route has not been permitted to attend.

“There is a real bias towards groups in the south.

Ian Bartle said: “The whole process is totally undemocratic and lacks transparency.”

Click here to read the original story about the bias claims.

The group is angry at what they say is a lack of representation. Picture: Kate Shemilt

The group is angry at what they say is a lack of representation. Picture: Kate Shemilt

Council leader Louise Goldsmith said: “We always knew this was going to be very challenging because feelings run so high over the A27.

“We have tried our best to pull communities together to work on the A27 which is why we at an early stage let people see what we have been discussing, rather than being accused of keeping things behind closed doors.

A council spokesman added: “Mr Mills has been in regular touch with the Build a Better A27 organisers and has been advised on a number of occasions his role as the chair of a neighbourhood watch committee, an extremely valuable role, does not allow him a forum to engage with residents on a formal basis to get their views.

“We advised him residents were well represented by their elected parish, district and county councillors.

“Regarding the comments that this process is undemocratic, our public survey at this early stage is designed to get early impressions of the proposals.

“[We will then] work with Build a Better A27 to reduce the number of suggestions down before we then carry out more detailed work and further engagement with the public.

“We hope these residents, along with everyone else, has taken, and will continue to take the opportunities to make their views heard.”

Click here to see our analysis of the different options as they currently stand.

What do you think about the process? Email news@chiobserver.co.uk.