Campaigners fighting for the best A27 upgrade improvements say they are likely to back Option 2.
Chichester Deserves Better says ‘none of the five options are perfect’ but, after looking at the options in detail, Option 2 comes closest to ‘ticking most of the boxes to give the Chichester area the traffic solution it urgently needs’.
It says Option 2, the most comprehensive at £280m which includes building a new Stockbridge link road, is the best starting point but that they will be putting forward a series of proposals for further improvements to the plan.
Last week West Sussex Growers Association, which represents 8,000 employees, came out in support of Option 2.
Chichester Deserves Better was established last year when it emerged that a new northern bypass was being considered as an improvement option.
The group gained more than 5,000 signatures against a new road through Lavant, arguing it would have little impact on traffic ‘which was mainly caused by local, not through traffic’.
A spokesman: “This has always been about finding the best solution for the Chichester area and was never just about opposing a northern bypass.
“That’s why we are still here and now going into the detail of the current proposals and trying to establish which option provides the best platform for moving forward.”
The group go on to say that the traffic modelling is clear in that Option 2 is the only one that will significantly improve traffic flow for residents in the Manhood Peninsula and is the only proposal that will disentangle the traffic flowing east and west from that going north and south. “It is the only option which will not increase air pollution, and will provide the best noise reduction and the best value for taxpayer money.
“Option 3, which appears to be better value, does not provide any benefit to local traffic and as such does not solve the problem, as evidenced by the traffic forecasting.”
The group accepts there are a number of features in Option 2 that will potentially have a negative impact and in their detailed response to Highways England they will suggest further consideration to mitigate these effects.
These include safeguarding suitable cycle and pedestrian paths, minimising the impact on the important views of the cathedral and the harbour, relieving congestion at railway crossings, and using Smart Technology to manage traffic flows.
The group added: “This opportunity for substantial improvement must now be taken otherwise many more years of delay, congestion and environmental degradation will be the result.
It is important that all consultees respond positively by completing the Highways England questionnaire.”