While grateful to our MP, The Rt Hon. Andrew Tyrie, for his latest reply to ongoing correspondence concerning the A27 Chichester Bypass Improvements, I am compelled to comment, respectfully but critically, that his communications on the matter bring to my mind the image of someone hesitating to enter a minefield (rather than simply ‘sitting on a fence’, as others have written).
While his open letter mentions ‘strong views both for and against a new northern bypass’, it only hints discouragingly at the possibility of the consultation re-run that has been widely called for, even in your own pages.
The substance of his letter focuses on transparency and greater clarity, but only regarding Highways England’s now ‘closed’ consultation process.
Nevertheless, in Mr Tyrie’s letter addressed to me (and, presumably distributed to his other similarly-corresponding constituents) he acknowledges the primacy of the majority when he writes: “The crucial task with any scheme, should one go ahead, will be to make sure that as many as possible of my constituents see improvements to access and travel times on the A27 and on nearby roads.”
The evidence published by you on February 9 (page 21) concerning the numbers and populations of local parish councils for and against a consultation re-run demonstrates clearly that both sides recognise a re-run consultation will show the only long-term solution for the great majority of Mr Tyrie’s constituents will be one that avoids a southern route, and that such will prove to be favoured by an over-whelming majority (ten to one?) of Mr Tyries’ constituents.
This should be more than sufficient for the Secretary of State to authorise a re-run consultation.
As Mahatma Gandhi is often quoted: “There go my people, I must hurry to catch up with them for I am their leader.”
So what can possibly be preventing our MP from pressing assertively for the re-run consultation – what lies under the minefield?
Paul G. Ellis