HIGHWAYS England must release full details of all options under consideration for improvements to the A27 at Chichester.
That is the call from this newspaper, which joins radio station Spirit FM in campaigning for greater clarity on the crucial issue.
Rumours of a northern bypass have gathered steam, with residents forming the Chichester Deserves Better campaign in response to concerns.
Editor-in-Chief Gary Shipton said: “It is absolutely vital that local residents and businesses are presented with all the facts at the earliest opportunity.
“It is also essential that the consultation which follows is comprehensive and utterly honest.
“As ever, we are campaigning for the very best flow of information and after that will be urging the decision-makers to adopt a course of action which is right for all the people of Chichester and not necessarily that which is the most financially expedient.”
Councillors last week expressed their worries over the lack of public information on the option.
Councillor Mark Dunn told Chichester District Council’s full council he feared Highways would present just one option for consultation.
Asked by Chichester Deserves Better campaigners what steps CDC would take to facilitate early public consultation, leader Tony Dignum said CDC was merely a consultee. He expected a full council debate on its stance.
Chichester MP Andrew Tyrie will also write to the secretary of state for transport over the matter.
He said: “Rumours of a northern bypass for Chichester are now widespread. Yet Highways England has yet to publish any substantive proposals. That is unacceptable in itself.
“I would be extremely concerned if any proposals for a northern bypass for Chichester turned out to be true. It would change the character of the area forever.”
Spirit FM managing director Sally Austin said: “Spirit FM is proud to working with the Chichester Observer and Chichester Deserves Better to make sure our listeners are armed with all the information they need to make an informed decision about the proposals for the improvements to the A27, and to make sure they have this information in time for their voice to actually make a difference.”
Highways England project manager Abi Oluwande said the agency was committed to improving the A27.
She said: “We are working on the various options to be considered for a public consultation in spring 2016.
“Once we have all the data available we will seek the public’s view but at this stage it would be inappropriate to release incomplete plans or speculate.”