BREAKING NEWS: County council backs mitigated northern route as preferred option

Aerial view of the A27 at Chichester
Aerial view of the A27 at Chichester

A new mitigated northern route for the A27 at Chichester has been backed as West Sussex County Council’s preferred option.

The Build a Better A27 group employed consultants Systra to come up with conceptual ideas as it looks to secure Government funding for improvements.

Two options were identified: a mitigated northern route and a full southern route.

The county council’s cabinet member for highways and infrastructure Bob Lanzer is set to write to Highways England requesting the A27 Chichester scheme be included in the next roads investment strategy, stating that the mitigated northern route is the authority’s preferred option but the full southern route should also be developed as a reasonable alternative.

A cabinet member decision was published this afternoon (Tuesday June 5).

A mitigated northern route would see a new ‘off-line’ dual carriageway route to the north of Chichester between a point west of the Fishbourne junction and a point east of the Portfield junction.

Meanwhile the full southern route would see improvements to six junctions on the existing A27 Chichester bypass, including underpasses at Fishbourne and Stockbridge, flyovers at Whyke and Bognor, and a flyover and junction remodelling at Portfield.

The decision report says: “Systra have worked with the BABA27 community group to understand key issues and constraints and identify a long list of possible options. The long list has been sifted down to a short list of five conceptual options: three are assessed to be ‘undeliverable’ or ‘undesirable’ but there are two ‘desirable’ conceptual options that meet, or meet most of, the success criteria identified by the group; a ‘mitigated northern route’ and a ‘full southern route’.

“However, there continues to be a wide range of views among local stakeholders and, at present, no clear majority in favour of any conceptual option.

“There are three potential approaches to promoting a scheme to the Government for inclusion in RIS2, each of which has different advantages and risks.

“It is considered that Approach C should be taken forward, that is, promoting one of the two desirable options as a preference but also promoting the other one as a ‘reasonable alternative’.

“On balance, it is considered that the submission to Highways England should include the ‘mitigated northern route’ as the County Council’s preferred option, subject to the inclusion of important mitigation measures that are needed to make the scheme acceptable in environmental terms and the ‘full southern route’ as a reasonable alternative to mitigate the community consensus and policy fit risks associated with the ‘mitigated northern route’.

“There is a need for the County Council to set out its views on the way forward to Highways England in June 2018 in order to inform decisions on RIS2.

“The Cabinet Member will write to Highways England requesting that the A27 Chichester scheme is included in the second Roads Investment Strategy (RIS2) stating that the ‘mitigated northern route’ is the County Council’s preferred option but that the ‘full southern route’ should also be developed as a reasonable alternative.”

The mitigated northern route for the A27 at Chichester was also backed as the preferred option by the county council’s non-decision making Environment, Communities and Fire Select Committee on Monday.

But the majority of committee members went against part of the officers’ recommendation to also put forward a full southern route as a reasonable alternative to Highways England.

Meanwhile Chichester District Council cabinet members are being recommended to promote both options as ‘being desirable without indicating a preference for either option’ when they meet on Friday (June 8).

Related stories:

A northern route is back on the table for the A27

A27 consultants: northern bypass offers ‘best long-term solution’

Minutes of A27 meeting between councils and Highways England published

Underpasses are top choice in A27 survey

An A27 upgrade will be ‘a real challenge’

A27 timeline: A stop-start saga

Chichester A27 scheme cancelled