No plan for further A27 consultation — but the fight is still on
Despite the transport minister stating there are ‘no current plans’ for further consultation on the A27, councillors, residents and an MP have said otherwise — and the fight is still on.
Following a written question from Mrs Keegan on whether the transport secretary would undertake a consultation for all options for improving the Chichester section of the A27, George Freeman transport minister said there ‘are no current plans’ for another consultation.
Mrs Keegan who is now the prospective parliamentary Tory candidate for Chichester, said: “I was disappointed with the Department of Transport’s response to my written question.
"However, from my recent meeting with the Secretary of State, Grant Shapps, I am hopeful that progress can be made.
“I am due to have a further meeting with the Roads Minister where I will put the A27 firmly on her agenda and reiterate my calls for an ‘all options’ consultation to include a Northern and Southern option.”
Prospective parliamentary candidate for the Lib Dems, Kate O’Kelly described the ministerial response as ‘a real blow’ and said: “The congestion and pollution caused by gridlocked traffic on the A27 has far reaching effects. Cars try to rat-run their way around the congestion. This can be felt as far away as Midhurst.
"The pollution can cause long term health issues for residents across the area.
“The current MP had one major job to do when she was elected – sort out the A27. The funding for the project was removed. Now we have confirmation that it is never coming back.”
Mrs Keegan added: “We all know the impact that congestion is having locally, and I will continue to push for national funding to ensure we can have a transparent, open and comprehensive review of all the possible options to upgrade the Chichester section of the A27.
"The Government has recently announced further investment of £25 billion to improve our road network and I am determined that Chichester will receive some of that investment.”
At a South Chichester county local committee meeting on Tuesday, concerned resident Mike Dicker quizzed councillors on what they would do to ensure they would work with the future MP in ‘securing the funding for the democratically chosen and preferred mitigated Northern route’.
Jamie Fitzjohn for Chichester South said: “This one is quite dear to my heart. This council will work with whoever wins the election ensure that the best option is chosen.”
Louise Goldsmith for Chichester West said: “I do think at the council we have to get behind the approved scheme. It was also agreed by the county council and with the district council.
“There are issues around climate change but the issue around the air quality is only going to go one way and that’s not right for the residents and something has to be done.”