A27 upgrade calls

Chichester chamber of commerce has joined Arundel MP Nick Herbert in a renewed call for action on vital A27 upgrades.

The minister for policing and justice labelled our over-congested main stretch of carriageway as little more than a ‘coastal carpark’ as he met recently with concerned businesses and community leaders who have continually voiced major concerns.

Their economic fears were expressed at the Arun meeting held at the district council offices which was attended by representatives from 20 groups including the county council and Arundel Town Council.

They agreed an urgent need to keep the Arundel bypass on the political agenda.

There was unanimous backing for the long-proposed ‘pink blue’ route which would provide a full bypass of the town.

But residents and businesses have been left continually dismayed over the years as the saga of the A27 has unfolded.

Its severe lack of progress has impacted severely on trading due to the inefficiency of the transport network.

Campaigns for the overall improvement of the A27 have been ongoing since the 1970s, with the Arundel bypass finally being put on the road-building schedule in the mid 90s only for it to be later withdrawn under Labour in 2003.

Mr Herbert, who has, along with fellow MP’s from the area campaigned for the delivery of a bypass, believed momentum had to be maintained.

He said: “There remains a strong environmental and economic case for an Arundel bypass.

“Rat-running through Arundel and the Downland villages is very damaging, and the local economy is harmed by such a poor road link.”

He added: “Of course I also support my fellow MPs in their call for A27 improvements at Chichester and Worthing, and we have lobbied ministers for these.

“We all want this entire stretch of the A27 to be upgraded.”

His concerns were shared by the chamber of commerce, which has also campaigned for action on A27 improvements.

Chamber president Farid Ahmed said: “We fully support a solution to the A27 congestion problems around Arundel, and also Worthing and Chichester.

“It is crucial to business in the area and maintaining the environment that the main South Coast east/west trunk route flows well.”

Government transport secretary Philip Hammond made a site visit to the area in March and confirmed no work would be carried out until after 2015.

He believed further reports were required.

But his findings come in the wake of West Sussex County Council having already identified the A27 as a major issue in its 15 year transport plan, placing it as one of its most highest priorities.