Budget announcement was good news for future of the A27

Chichester A27 bypass from the stockbridge bridge looking East bound PPP-140628-083326006
Chichester A27 bypass from the stockbridge bridge looking East bound PPP-140628-083326006

Last week’s Budget held good news for those who want to see a long-term fix for the A27.

Philip Hammond announced that an eye-watering £25.3billion of funds is to be made available to Highways England to cover major road building improvements in the five-year period through to March 31. 2025 (known as RIS2).

This is serious money and makes a real fix possible rather than the sticking plasters with which we have been asked to make do.

And there is a real fix on the table.

Build a Better A27 with its combination of community leaders and experts showed how an A27 scheme for Chichester could improve safety for all, provide fast and reliable journeys, ensure a more resilient network, be environmentally responsible, meet the needs of all users and be efficiently delivered – the criteria by which schemes will be judged.

And the subsequent endorsement of a northern option as the best solution by our democratically elected district and county councils showed real leadership.

But what of Gillian Keegan – our democratically elected MP?

To date, and like her predecessor Andrew Tyrie, she has supported neither a northern nor a southern solution, but stressed her aim of using her influence and skills to secure the money to ensure a decent scheme can be delivered.

Some see that as a refuge from the tough decision of opting north or south.

Whether or not that is the case, I believe her constituents expect more action and leadership from our MP; something more akin to that modelled by Nick Herbert at Arundel which is why I have asked her:

1. Whether she agrees that we now have an opportunity to press our case.

2. If she does not agree, what she sees as the obstacles.

3. If she does agree, what her strategy will be to argue for our constituency’s part of the A27 to be included in RIS2 and what we as individuals can do to support her efforts.

Jim McAuslan, Chalder Way, Chichester