Thursday, 17 May 2018

One more step along the road

You might think the only momentous date this week is Harry and Megan's nuptials, but last Friday and this Friday are just as momentous here in West Sussex.

Four years ago we in West Sussex launched the A27 Action campaign together with local MPs Nick Herbert, Peter Bottomley, Tim Loughton, and Andrew Tyrie making the case for investment in the A27.

As ever we worked with our communities who helped in many ways with the campaign. It has, excuse the pun, been quite a journey, but on Friday Highways England announced the preferred route for Arundel which is a major, major step forward. Of course not everyone is pleased but overall this route has been met with a good reception and is supported by the MP, Arun District Council, WSCC and Arundel Town Council – so a united approach and we will continue to work together to take the scheme onto the next phase. At present more work is ongoing on Worthing and Lancing.

As you may know when it comes to Chichester we have the community lead Build a Better A27 Group who have for the last 14 months been working on finding a solution for the Chichester A27.

I have been inspired by the dedication and commitment of the attendees who have given up their evenings, in rain and shine, to work through the issues to find ideas and solutions all based on some agreed guiding principles.

We've had some challenging conversations but at the centre through all of this has been the desire of communities to have their say and make the voice of their community known. We all care passionately about where we live and work. I have been really inspired by the commitment  and dedication of our community. I would really like to see this as the model for consultations on highways schemes and other projects in the future.

When we started this process there were really strong views on every side but those with those strongly held views have sat together, talked it through and listened. I would like to thank them all for taking the time to do that because it has been that support that has kept us together and inspired us all.

What an amazing, collaborative effort.  I am so proud of the journey we have all been on.

We now have two options on the table - and of course people will have strong views on that.

However the most important point is for the majority to get behind a scheme to give confidence to HE and the Minister that the route is deliverable – so it has a good chance in the next round of road investment funding; RIS2.
 
Yes we know the funding for RIS2 is tight but we also know this road needs improvement because of capacity, air quality, congestion and safety – that is a long list but here in West Sussex we believe it's worth getting it right.

Best wishes,
Louise.

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