A27 campaigners launch challenge for county council leader’s seat

Louise Goldsmith being handed the notice from Chichester Deserves Better at last Thursday's Funtington Parish Council meeting

Louise Goldsmith being handed the notice from Chichester Deserves Better at last Thursday's Funtington Parish Council meeting

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Anti-northern bypass campaigners have announced plans to put forward a candidate to challenge leader Louise Goldsmith for her seat on the county council at this summer’s elections.

Members of Chichester Deserves Better (CDB) surprised cllr Goldsmith by turning up to a Funtington Parish Council meeting last Thursday to hand her a notice of their intention to challenge for her Chichester West division seat, if she stands for re-election in May.

The front page of the Chichester Observer, breaking the news of a possible A27 consultation re-run

The front page of the Chichester Observer, breaking the news of a possible A27 consultation re-run

The group are furious with the county council leader for speaking out to suggest the A27 consultation should be re-run and include options for a northern bypass which were dropped ahead of the original consultation between June-August.

They are accusing cllr Goldsmith, who has held the seat for the Conservatives since it was created 12 years ago, of ‘failing the people she is supposed to represent’ and say the communities of Bosham, East Ashling, Fishbourne, Funtington, West Ashling and West Stoke are strongly opposed to any chance of a northern bypass being built.

A CDB spokesman said: “In calling for a re-run of the A27 consultation with northern options included, Louise Goldsmith is not only making a mockery of her own council’s previous stance on the issue, but is also betraying the interests of the residents she represents within her division who have consistently opposed any northern bypass.”

Cllr Goldsmith, on being handed the notice of CDB’s intention to challenge her seat, told the meeting: “If people want to challenge me in my seat, so be it, that is democracy in 2017.”

She also reaffirmed her belief that a total re-run of the consultation might be needed, acknowledging that this would involve the potential for northern options to return to the fray.

CDB say that any re-run of the consultation process risks the whole Chichester improvement scheme being dropped and the money allocated being diverted elsewhere.

The CDB spokesperson added: “The best way for the people of West Chichester to avoid the catastrophe of a northern bypass with no upgrade of the online route is at the ballot box.

“CDB believes there must be a clear, decisive, apolitical option for the people of West Chichester to rebuke the northern bypass and to support the on-line junction upgrades on which the community has been consulted.

“It is for this reason that we are standing a non-political single-issue candidate to oppose councillor Goldsmith in the county council election in May.”

Read cllr Goldsmith’s response to the challenge to her West Sussex County Council seat here.

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