Council leaders call on transport secretary to reconsider Chichester’s A27 decision

Louise Goldsmith
Louise Goldsmith

The leaders of both West Sussex County Council and Chichester District Council have written to Chris Grayling to ask him to reconsider cancelling Chichester’s A27 improvement scheme.

In a joint letter from Louise Goldsmith, Tony Dignum and Tim Wates, chairman of Coast to Capital LEP, the government’s transport secretary is urged to reverse the shock decision he made last week. Full story here.

The letter was sent on Friday and also calls for Highways England to publish the results of its consultation, which the government company did the following day, showing 47 per cent supported ‘No Option’; 31 per cent backed ‘Option 2’, with ‘Option 1A’ a long distance behind in third with only 6 per cent.

The letter to Chris Grayling in full states:

Naturally we are deeply disappointed with your decision to cancel the improvement scheme but remain united as West Sussex County Council, Chichester District Council and with our MP and Coast to Capital LEP colleagues in doing all that we can to ask you to reconsider.

The cancellation means that the appalling congestion, especially at peak times, will only get worse, both on the A27 and also on the alternative routes used by motorists avoiding the A27.

As you will be aware from our recent correspondence, we have been working with Highways England to help them understand the local concerns expressed to us during the consultation.

The results of the consultation have still not been made public and it is vital that they are published without further delay.

We know many people will be very unhappy with your decision and we also know that for the benefit of the economy and to reduce the congestion on the by-pass a solution has to be urgently found.

We understand your need for assurance that the community and councils are committed to improvements.

Therefore we will be working with our local communities to find a solution which will be acceptable and hopefully one which you will be prepared to consider.

We would like to reassure you that at no time has the funding contributions of £20 million from our organisations been withdrawn and nor has our support to find an option that will work for our communities been in any doubt.

We remain fully committed to working with you to help find a solution for Chichester and therefore we would very much welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss how we are engaging our communities in the hope that you reconsider your decision for the benefit of West Sussex.

Yours sincerely

Louise Goldsmith, leader, West Sussex County Council

Tony Dignum, leader, Chichester District Council

Tim Wates, chairman, Coast to Capital LEP