All need to have same agenda

I write as a resident and business owner on the Manhood Peninsula to comment and plead on the consultation of the A27.

Wednesday, 21st September 2016, 4:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:02 pm

We live on a small peninsula, blighted for decades, by appalling political management. The district council has for 30 years plus piled on houses by the hundreds, without thinking of the long-term effects. This has been exasperated by the county council which has totally failed the businesses and residents by failing to upgrade any infrastructure. This is further compounded by a Transport Department that has provided no direction, no guidance nor any help in resolving our plight. The cost to my business alone must be in the region of 20 per cent of turnover and that must be mirrored by every business.

The effect is to knock at least £30,000 a year off my productivity and if that is replicated across all regional businesses over 20 years it would run into the hundreds of £millions. We have been failed by our district, county and parliamentary bodies and totally ignored by our MPs.

We cannot rely on any journey time to get east or west along the A27 or on and off the peninsula by road. There is no other public transport. We don’t even have a mobile signal across any of the networks so at least we can trade while stationary. And to cap it all, we are given Charles Horton’s Southern Rail which is utterly incapable of getting a train to run on time between Chichester and London. And has absolutely no plans to do so.

We live in the 5th richest country in the world yet, at the same time, live in a 3rd world country. It is as shocking as it is pathetic. And from the background to the meat of the A27 proposals. There is no sensible route put forward as we sit here today. It is not possible to upgrade the existing route when already the current route never, ever works. Five or seven years of disruption will cripple this peninsula. And none of the proposals acknowledge that.

So I write to ask everyone to think of us in the debate going forward. We must be neighbourly. We must persuade our elected representatives to engage and undertake what they are paid and elected to do. Represent us. At all levels. And we must ask the government at national and local level to work with us, repay the money and faith we put in them. A southern route will not work and that is fact.

So that means a northern route is the only option. If we are neighbourly those anti the north route will see our plight and they will support us.

The northern route as drafted in 2015 pays no respect whatsoever to a National Park, and ANOB, the quiet nature of the immediate villages, the affected residents, Goodwood House, a Grade 1 monument, and a world class racecourse and race track. It was not acceptable. However, if it was redesigned as a cut and cover scheme its long term impact on just those important concerns would be minimal. In fact, its impact would be of great benefit. You simply cut the route, construct it, cover it back up and return it to its previous state. In two or three years no-one would know it was there. It might appear expensive but it isn’t as expensive as the status quo, or one of the five southern proposals. Do a cost benefit analysis and add the huge waste to GDP that occurs.

Everyone involved in this debate should get behind this proposal. If we get behind it unanimously, for the good of the region, we will get this adopted. We will never get it adopted if we all have our own agenda. We must safeguard the region and only in unity can we achieve that.

James Birkett