IT’S a bit rich for Highways England to play the victim now that their proposals for improving the A27 around Chichester have been exposed.
It was they themselves who caused the ‘needless concern’ of residents by announcing the fact that these proposals were coming, and raised the temperature of emotions by including routes to the north. It would have made more sense if they had simply gone public once their blueprints were ready, and without the fanfare beforehand.
I fail to understand what the agency hopes to achieve by including proposed routes to the north of the city.
The barbarity of the northern options is so stark compared with the alternatives that all their presence does is to increase the anxiety of everyone who has a stake in, or cares for, the wellbeing of Chichester and its surrounding countryside.
These figments of a planner’s lively imagination should never have got beyond the drawing board. It is very unlikely that a northern route will ever be built, but its mere proposal is enough to cause unnecessary nervousness and worry.
The fact is that there is a perfectly good through route already in existence around Chichester. The problem is to ameliorate or divert local traffic flows into it and across it.
Those options that do not include the northern routes seem, from the grainy images of the Observer’s illicitly acquired maps, largely to address these concerns.
Highways England should withdraw the schemes for a new by-pass to the north, and get down to business consulting with residents and businesses on the best way forward for improving what we already have.