New A27 group in '˜stitch-up' claims over fresh northern route

A new A27 action group has been set up to oppose the prospect of an alternative northern route running south of the Goodwood Estate and behind their homes.

Tuesday, 3rd April 2018, 10:15 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:36 am
The unoffical route map, produced by the Summersdale Action Group, based on one of SYSTRAs suggested new routes
The unoffical route map, produced by the Summersdale Action Group, based on one of SYSTRAs suggested new routes

Teams of residents have been doing door-to-door leaflet drops and with a map the group has produced, based on one of the ‘long list’ of A27 options, which they believe would put a new road near their properties.

They are referring to the last of six new routes suggested by consultants SYSTRA, which proposes a new ‘multi-purpose route north of the city between the A27 west of Fishbourne and near the A27 Portfield junction.

The Summersdale Action Group said that the only possible corridor for this alternative northern route is across the fields between Lavant and Summersdale and then turning sharply, skirting the northern and eastern edges of Summersdale before joining the existing A27 at Portfield.

Members are distributing thousands of maps in Summersdale, Lavant, Graylingwell, Broyle and other villages along the possible route.

There is ‘total disbelief’ that the public is being asked to vote on options which only have approximate start and finish points, they say.

Summersdale resident Nicholas Bulloch commented on one of the guiding principles on the county council’s website for the A27 improvements which says ‘to take decisions informed by solid evidence’.

“But there is no evidence, no maps, no costings, no traffic projections,” he said.

A concerned resident, who asked not to be named, fears WSCC, which is overseeing the Build A Better A27 (BABA27) process, favours a new northern bypass.

He said: “This is one of the most important issues for Chichester in recent times.

“And yet, it looks very much like a stitch-up.”

According to one advocate of the BABA27 process, members largely discounted this option at the last meeting, though it was part of the public survey.

The Summersdale group wants to see the current A27 upgraded.

Your Say Survey closes

Meanwhile, the deadline for residents’ views on a ‘long list’ of options to build a better A27 around Chichester closed last Thursday.

West Sussex County Council says there has been ‘an overwhelming response from people’.

A spokesperson for the county council said: “For the last two weeks, people have taken the opportunity to make their views known, something that was not possible in previous consultations.”

County council leader Louise Goldsmith said: “It’s really great that so many people have shared their views on the A27 around Chichester.

“One of the guiding principles of the Build a Better A27 Group was that no option should be off the table and we asked for feedback on that basis.

“I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has taken the time to get involved. This is true community involvement.”

The public has been asked to comment on a long list of suggestions and ideas on how to ease congestion on the A27, put together by the Build a Better A27 group.

The next steps are for the consultant, SYSTRA, to carry out more detailed assessments of these proposals which they will feed back to the Build a Better A27 group next month, before a final report is published in May.