Pressure is mounting on the man who could hold the keys to an A27 consultation re-run to break his public silence.
Andrew Tyrie this week failed to respond to the Observer’s repeated requests for comment on the key issue which continues to divide his constituency.
Having been told by his office three weeks ago that ‘Andrew Tyrie will not be commenting on the A27 at this time’ he has remained tight-lipped since.
The Chichester MP is due to hold a behind-closed-doors meeting with representatives of every parish council tomorrow afternoon (Friday), before also meeting district councillors.
Despite the key topic of the A27 being up for discussion, the Observer’s requests to attend were not answered by Mr Tyrie’s office.
Both West Sussex County Council (WSCC) leader Louise Goldsmith and Chichester District Council (CDC) leader Tony Dignum have publicly called for an all-new A27 consultation, which would almost certainly include previously dropped options for a northern bypass.
With cllr Dignum confirming that at a private meeting between Chris Grayling and cllr Goldsmith, the Transport Secretary indicated that a joint request from CDC, WSCC and Mr Tyrie could result in a new consultation, it now leaves the Chichester MP as the missing piece of the puzzle.
Mr Tyrie made public previous correspondence with Mr Grayling over the A27, in which he asked for detailed reasons why northern routes were dropped, so his refusal to now comment publicly is even more surprising.
Mr Tyrie’s letter said: “It is vital that all those affected by the scheme can have confidence that the plan finally selected is the best – and best value – option for my constituents and for the area, and that the consultation has been open and transparent.”
In response Mr Grayling said 2010 traffic data showed a northern bypass ‘would not solve the congestion’.
The Observer understands that Mr Tyrie has been flooded with letters, both from pro and anti-northern bypass campaigners, on re-running the consultation.
Project manager Highways England said it still expected to publish its preferred route of the five options to upgrade the current A27 this spring.
HE’s director of major projects, Peter Adams has also written to residents saying it ‘will not be re-running this summer’s consultation’ – however, as transport secretary, Chris Grayling will have the final say.
Next Tuesday CDC’s full council will meet to vote on leader Tony Dignum’s motion to support a consultation re-run.