Chris Grayling on Chichester A27: Improvements will be necessary in the future

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling answering Chichester MP Gilllian Keegan's question on funding for the A27 in the Commons (photo from Parliament.tv).
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling answering Chichester MP Gilllian Keegan's question on funding for the A27 in the Commons (photo from Parliament.tv).

Improvements to the A27 around Chichester are still viewed by the Government as ‘necessary in the future’, according to its Transport Secretary.

Chichester District Council’s local plan, which identifies sites for housing and employment for the period up to 2035, includes government-set targets for 12,350 new homes – 650 per year – and more than 230,000sqm of business floorspace.

Public consultation on the document, called the council’s ‘draft preferred approach’, is set to start on Thursday, December 13, and run for eight weeks.

Chichester already has an adopted local plan but has to review it every five years, with the next one having to be completed by 2020.

Some concerns were raised about proposals for the A27 around Chichester which were included in the plan to mitigate the extra traffic that will be generated by the new homes.

This comes as the area is waiting to hear about whether strategic improvements will be included in Highways England’s road investment strategy two (RIS2).

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling pulled funding for improvements to the A27 in March 2017.

Since then the Build a Better A27 group has been seeking to create community consensus for a new scheme and secure funding.

Speaking in the Commons last week, Chichester MP Gillian Keegan described how the A27 is at capacity and how this is restricting economic growth.

She described how the local plan included ‘minor improvements’ but a strategic solution is the ‘only viable answer to the problems’.

She asked Mr Grayling if it is still the intention of the Department for Transport to fund major improvements around Chichester in the recently increased RIS2 budget.

In response Mr Grayling said: “She will know that the divisions of opinion in the local community have put the project back by a number of years.

“I do not want to give her undue cause for optimism about its position in the queue, because it was certainly a setback when the local authority decided to reject Highways England’s plans, but it remains the view of the Government and Highways England that improvements in the area around her constituency will be necessary in the future.”

The local plan was approved for public consultation at a council meeting last Tuesday.